How Gallagher helped Walney Substation improve security

Walney Substation covers an area of reclaimed marsh land and required an innovative perimeter and internal fencing package that was designed to offer the highest level of substation security.

In an age where electricity is as vital as the air we breathe, the sanctity of power infrastructure is non-negotiable. At the heart of this infrastructure lies the substation, a critical piece in our quest for uninterrupted power supply. However, substations face daunting security challenges that threaten to plunge our lives into darkness.

In this article, we explore the challenges of substation security, explain the complexity behind safeguarding these power centres, and discover how Walney Substation ensured operational continuity through substation security.

What is the purpose of a substation

A substation is an installation designed to establish suitable voltage levels for producing, converting, regulating, and distributing electricity.

Substations are responsible for leveling and transforming power so that once distributed, it is the appropriate power for our homes, ensuring we can safely use electronic devices.

Through substations, electricity can be distributed to reach different geographical areas and because of their purpose, substation security is critical to ensuring a nation’s power supply.

The challenges of substation security

Substation security is not without its challenges, which is often due to their remote locations.

Normally located on the periphery of consumption areas, inside buildings to save space, near power plants or the outskirts of urban areas with outdoor installations, their location and size along with the need to ensure substation security with public access requires striking the right balance.

However, a substation security system is critical, and ensuring your solution is fit for task is the first step in mitigating potential security breaches including power outages and damage to critical infrastructure.

How to secure a substation

Substations are critical infrastructure, and as such require a robust substation security solution to protect and ensure minimal interruption and performance inefficiencies.

Securing substations requires a complete solution, one that starts from the outside in, with substation perimeter fencing.

Substation security fencing includes the installation of a monitored pulse fence around the edge of a site which has two functions; to provide intruder deterrence and ensure awareness if someone does try to enter a site.

Gallagher pulse fences boost substation security through energized, high-tensile wires that can be constructed inside a new fence or added to an existing one. The wires are monitored and will trigger an alert as soon as they are touched.

Gallagher’s perimeter fence security is configured and controlled using the powerful software at the heart of the solution, Command Centre, providing fence hardware solutions that can be managed and monitored across multiple sites from one central location.

Video surveillance is another essential tool in boosting substation security. Command Centre is capable of integrating with a wide range of best-in-class video systems allowing substation security operators to be equipped with a single solution on the control room, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs.

Similarly, access control solutions ensures that the right people are in the right place at the right time and that substation access is only available to authorized personnel, those with the necessary competencies and permissions to be in a designated area at any one time.

How Gallagher helped Walney Substation improve security

The challenge

With the ability to power over 590,000 UK homes from a total capacity of 660 MW, Walney Extension is set to be the biggest offshore wind farm in the world when it is commissioned at the end of 2018.

The new onshore substation covers an area of reclaimed marsh land and required an innovative perimeter and internal fencing package to be designed to offer the highest levels in security and electrical safety. Design work started in 2017 and looked at how existing fencing systems could be used to create a bespoke solution.

Protecting critical national infrastructure in the utilities industry presents a number of challenges:

  • External perimeter to offer guaranteed delay against attack
  • All fencing to be earthed or offer non conductive features
  • Internal fencing to include multiple systems including rigid mesh and GRP in same fence line
  • External perimeter and access control to be compatible with monitored pulse fencing (electric fencing) to meet security requirements
  • Internal fencing to be base plated

The Gallagher solution

The substation installed five systems in total from the CLD Fencing Systems range of rigid mesh fencing and security gate solutions and combined this with a Gallagher Monitored Pulse Fence to add an extra layer of security to the site.

The business value

The Gallagher solution provides reliable detection and prevention of unauthorized access to the site, protecting the public from accidental or intentional entry to the site.

The solution ensures operational continuity, avoiding significant costs associated with loss of supply, while protecting the site's assets from theft and damage.

The system has been so successful that they want to use the same solution for all its electrical substations.

The benefits of substation security

By ensuring substation security is up to task, operators can be confident they have the necessary measures in place to mitigate risk and protect critical infrastructure from attack. By engaging substation security solutions fit for purpose, operators can best support an uninterrupted and reliable power supply to consumers, a necessity when maintaining public safety.

Substations are critical necessities in the distribution of electricity to power our homes, our hospitals, schools, manufacturing plants and keep life operating on a daily basis.

Ensuring substations remain secure and protected from possible attacks or threats is of the utmost importance. Protection starts from the outside in with substation perimeter security, the first step in a line of defense designed to ensure uninterrupted operating.

Additional layers of security including CCTV and access solutions fortify protection and create a cohesive and robust barrier to compromising activity.

Gallagher’s award-winning security solutions are used to protect some of the world’s most critical infrastructure and locations, and are sought after for their levels of protection, regulatory compliance, and efficiency.

Substation security is, and continues to be about protecting what matters most and with Gallagher Security and access solutions operators can be confident their system is up for the task now, and into the future.

Our team on the ground

Need a hand? Let us put you in contact with one of our local business development managers.

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