Serbia intends to double the amount of energy it generates from renewable sources to 40% of total energy production by 2040 and a large proportion of that is expected to be generated by wind power.
In the last decade, eight wind farms were constructed in Serbia and many more are planned to meet government targets, but the security of those farms is an important consideration. The small but insidious threats farms face from criminals can risk valuable assets and costly project delays.
G4S has built significant expertise in securing large-scale wind farm construction projects in the country. While Serbia has very low crime rates in towns and cities, wind farms are built in rural areas and the main risk they face is from malicious or opportunistic criminals, if the security isn’t properly thought-through. The number of incidents can be small but the potential losses involved can be extremely large in monetary terms.
The most vulnerable point in the life of a wind farm is during the construction phase. Before a turbine is put together, its mammoth components lie in situ, ready to be assembled using cranes and other heavy machinery. The worst mistake to make when securing a wind farm site, which is usually a vast area in a remote setting, is to attempt to cover that area with patrolling security officers as your main line of defence. It’s impossible, and very inefficient, to secure such an expanse with manpower alone.
We adopt a risk-based approach because understanding the threats that a wind farm actually faces requires getting into the mind of the people seeking either to inflict harm or to steal fuel, valuable metal or cable elements. Anticipating their probable movements and their modus operandi is essential.
We adopt a risk-based approach because understanding the threats that a wind farm actually faces requires getting into the mind of the people seeking either to inflict harm or to steal fuel, valuable metal or cable elements.
Effective Technology, Security Professionals
At G4S we have very successfully used an integrated security solution that combines a unique Internet of Things (IoT) wireless intrusion detection capability based on LoRaWan technology, a perimeter video-alarm system and 24/7 alarm monitoring with video verification, all fully integrated and monitored from a dedicated control room. Where we have implemented this, our approach has had a significant and timely impact on the number and severity of incidents.
In fact, we have required far less people on the ground than might be expected, because the technology is so effective in alerting us to whether there is a real threat, for example, from an intruder or whether a wild animal has entered the area. But what this means is that when they are required, our patrol and response team know exactly what the issue is, where it is and they are prompt and efficient in resolving it.
The teams we have on the ground are highly trained professionals and their presence at the sites is a deterrent in itself. Employing professionals who know the local community, where possible, also has important benefits in reinforcing the function of the operation and improving site safety, where issues arise.
Internet of things
Should a silent alarm be set off, the monitoring centre can view video in real-time to check to see whether the threat is real or a false alarm. At rural sites like this, our technology is battery powered as it is not yet connected to the power grid, but this has not stopped us from innovating. We have installed sensors in the parts of a turbine prior to its assembly to keep them safe.The sensors alert the control room if there is a significant increase in temperature which could be a fire, allowing us to respond appropriately - quickly and effectively.
IoT technology can do many things that were not previously possible and these are only increasing. For example, it can not only monitor various aspects of the security and safety of assets and equipment, but it can also act as an access control technology, ensuring that the farm owner is aware of who is onsite every day. This could mean that in the future employees don’t need to report their hours worked manually, they will be logged automatically.
By making the most of these innovative security solutions, and taking a risk-based approach to security that far more effectively detects and mitigates against threats, wind farm owners can have peace of mind that their sites and assets are safe and secure.
Milan Stanic is Sales Manager for Industrial & Commercial sites for G4S in Serbia and is a G4S Academy Risk and Sector Specialist, with proven knowledge in Wind Farm security.
Marko Sukilovic,Certified Protection Professional (CPP), is Business Development Director for G4S in Serbia and is the G4S Academy Partner, Risk, Integrated Security and Sector Specialist in the country.