Wildfire Mitigation Best Practices for Electric Utilities: A White Paper
The ever-increasing intensity and frequency of wildfires in the past decade across multiple continents have pushed electric utilities to look for extensive wildfire and risk mitigation strategies. However, wildfire risk mitigation remains a complicated and staggering challenge for utility companies. Listen to the podcast
Fallen power lines have caused massive wildfires in the past and rank as the third most common cause of wildfires in California. In some cases, it only takes a branch falling from a tree and striking a power line to create sparks. Nearly 10% of wildfires result from fallen power lines, which equates to roughly 400 fires per year in California. Aging utility infrastructure and vegetation encroachments contribute to power lines falling.
Experts suggest that global warming and climate change have intensified the scale and frequency of wildfires in the past two decades. Increasing heat, unpredictable shifts in rain and snow patterns and other climate-related changes have increased the likelihood that fires will start more often and burn more intensely and widely than they have in the past.
Wildfires also present a unique financial threat to US power and utility companies. There are multiple stakeholders in this game, including but not limited to power utilities, governments and other regulatory bodies that collaborate to mitigate risks to save lives, property, costs and liabilities.
While it might be impossible to prevent climate-related wildfires for utilities, vegetation-related wildfires can be prevented and controlled by implementing the right strategies. Vegetation management, infrastructure monitoring and other such practices need an overhaul to meet today’s urgencies using today’s technologies.
This White Paper talks at length about novel technologies, like satellites and Artificial Intelligence, and why the utility industry should use them to advance their wildfire mitigation strategies.
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