Access control systems in energy sector
Access control in the energy industry must address many security challenges raised by the infrastructure’s layout and inherent danger. Scattered sites such as gas regulation stations, electrical substations, electric power plants, wind turbines, solar farms and hydraulic stations are especially prone to risks.
Access control in a complex production and distribution chain
Energy supply requires an extensive, diverse set of infrastructures. Locken has provided solutions to the largest organisations in the industry since 2003, including the renewable energy sector (wind, solar and hydraulic) with tens of thousands of access point installations and in-depth knowledge of these sites.
Access control for isolated, scattered facilities exposed to harsh weather
The energy industry covers a wide range of facilities, often forming a linear structure over hundreds of miles, or occasionally scattered over vast areas, such as wind farms. In both cases, sites are usually located in rural areas with extreme weather conditions.
The Locken solution is the perfect answer to these issues. The cylinders are passive, hence they do not need to be connected to an energy source. Instead, the key supplies the power and access rights to open doors. Electronic cylinders can easily replace existing cylinders and do not require any maintenance. This makes remote sites easier to run.
This access control solution is ideal for open-air sites, even in challenging environments such as mountainous or seaside areas. Cylinders have the IP 66-67-68-69 rating and high levels of protection against water ingress (even pressurised water) and foreign bodies. The latest-generation electronic keys use inductive technology for contactless information exchanges between the key and cylinder. This technology allows the electronic key to transmit access rights to the cylinder, even in the case of salt, pollution or dust blockages or a rusty surface caused by humidity. In other words, bad connections do not prevent information from being transmitted between the key and lock.
Access control for Critical National infrastructure Sites
Energy sites may be the prime target for large-scale attacks looking to compromise the country’s economic potential. They may also attract various categories of vandal, including urban explorers (urbex) who not only put themselves at great risk but may also seriously disrupt the service and challenge the operator’s ability to fulfil its duties.
The Locken access control solution plays a major role for two reasons, especially when implementing operator security plans and special protection plans:
1) The electronic key only opens the cylinder when configured with the necessary access rights. These may be granted in real time with the Bluetooth module present in the latest-generation keys, by communicating with the MyLocken app via an advanced AES128 encryption protocol.
2) Any openings or attempted break-ins are logged in the electronic key’s memory and sent to the Locken Smart Access (LSA) management software. This feature allows security managers to accurately verify each user’s activity. LSA is also a strong deterrent as it can detect even the slightest anomaly.
Access control and specific rights
At energy sites, access to certain areas must be restricted to qualified staff. This is the case at electrical substations and gas distribution centres where the most sensitive areas are off-limits except to officers with the necessary electrical or gas authorisation. As for wind turbines, staff must be qualified to work at specific heights to reach the highest parts of the turbine.
The Locken access control solution is suitable in this scenario as access rights can be precisely configured for certain areas and times based on the user’s profile. The solution works alongside the MyLocken app and new technology (RFID, beacons, etc.) to send technicians control messages about their access rights or required safety instructions (wearing a helmet, the buddy system, etc.). Similarly, users can interact with the central system and submit on-site attendance reports, flag up anomalies, etc. These bespoke features are designed to meet the ever-stricter safety requirements in companies.
Access control for ATEX environments
Some areas in the gas industry, especially at delivery and regulation stations, are prone to explosive atmospheres and governed by Atex regulations.
Thus, Locken access control solutions have ATEX certification for explosive atmospheres.