The Answer is Blowing in the Wind: A Surveillance Solution to Protect our Country's Wind Farms

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With the influx of wind farm projects being constructed in the US, vandalism and theft at these large and remote facilities have also been on the rise. HGH Infrared Systems' Spynel would be an effective solution for 24/7 security and surveillance to protect the valuable assets within.

Clean, renewable energy by the way of wind farms have been gaining popularity in the US recently, a trend that was effectively reinforced after last month’s announcement from Renewable Energy Systems Americas who closed on two different construction loans for large wind farm projects to be completed next year in North Dakota and Minnesota. In addition to providing the palpable environmental advantages, it is estimated the 150 MW Border Winds Project and the 200 MW Pleasant Valley Wind Project will reduce customer energy costs by millions of dollars over the projects’ lifetimes. As Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co. Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company-who will own and operate the plants upon completion-stated, “These projects will add 750 megawatts of clean wind energy to our system and demonstrate that we can achieve both environmental and economic benefits for our customers” (

While the many benefits involved with these renewable energy projects are apparent, the risks of safely securing them from outsiders perhaps are not. An article published by Wind Power Monthly earlier this year touched upon the soaring prices of copper as a factor in theft at these vast and isolated areas. As Patrick Smith writes, “The fact is that copper wiring from a single turbine can fetch a considerable sum of money…a 1.5 MW has roughly $20,000 worth of copper cable…it is certainly enough to provide a powerful incentive for thieves, who are increasingly prepared to travel to remote wind farms to seek their fortunes” ( As their popularity strengthens and theft and vandalism reports continue to rise, wind farm operators will have to begin looking into surveillance solutions to protect their valuable assets.

The Spynel U is the ideal solution for critical infrastructure perimeter surveillance such as: wind farms, solar farms, nuclear plants, or oil rigs and refineries. This uncooled, panoramic infrared thermal imaging system with automatic detecting and tracking capabilities from HGH Infrared Systems produces highly-resolved 360 degree images of an entire surrounding. Able to detect a human at up to 2.5 km away, in total darkness and through any type of inclement weather, the Spynel U can detect an unlimited number of targets including hardly detectable threats such as crawlers. The Spynel U is also the most cost effective of the Spynel family and because it does not require any cryogenic cooler, it also ensures long-term reliability and minimal maintenance.

Wind farms are an important step towards attaining economical and more environmentally friendly sources of energy. In order to protect these valuable structures, wind farm owners and operators should have a detailed security plan in place and proven surveillance systems, such as Spynel, to combat against theft and vandalism.

About: Founded in 1982, HGH designs, develops, assembles and sells complete high end optronics systems for security, industrial and civil applications. HGH’s team of highly qualified engineers is comprised of experts in optics, software, mechanics and electronics and operates in the US, out of Boston, MA. HGH strives to provide advanced and innovative infrared equipment to protect their clients all around the world, while keeping the agility and dedication of a small and passionate team. Speed, flexibility, technical excellence and innovation constitute their core values. HGH has established itself as an international reference for infrared technology innovation through the development of multiple advanced thermal sensors, among which its award-winning real-time 360 degree thermal camera, the Spynel-C - 2008 Product of the Year from Photonics Tech Briefs, 2010 Innovation Prize from the EuroNaval Committee, 2011 Kummerman Award from the French Academy of Marine, 2012 GovSec Platinum Award, 2012 Govies Homeland Security Award, and 2014 Best Video Tracking/Wide Area/Long Range Surveillance from Government Security News’ Airport, Seaport, and Border Security Awards Program.

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