PG&E Invests Heavily in Wildfire Prevention

By William Atkinson | Aug 3, 2021

To protect and meet the energy needs of its 16 million customers, and also enhance its own energy systems, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is proposing a series of safety, resiliency and clean energy investments in its 2023 General Rate Case (GRC).

The utility’s GRC proposes approximately $7.4 billion in new investments between 2023 to 2026, which would be earmarked to reduce the impacts of extreme weather and the threat of catastrophic wildfires, while delivering safe, reliable and clean energy service to its customers.

“Our most important responsibility is the safety of the customers and communities we serve,” said Robert Kenney, PG&E vice president of regulatory and external affairs. “These investments will strengthen our electric system against wildfire and other environmental risks, and enhance gas and electric system safety, while reinforcing our commitment to provide even more clean, renewable energy for California.”

Of note, the utility is making significant safety investments to reduce wildfire risks. These investments include:

  • Hardening power lines

  • Placing additional power lines underground

  • Installing sectionalizing devices to reduce impacts to customers and the scale of public safety power shut-offs

  • Testing and using new tools and technologies to better identify the best ways to prevent and respond to increasing wildfire risks

  • Going above and beyond state safety standards for management of vegetation near power lines (including removal of dead, dying and diseased trees that could strike overhead power lines)

  • Deploying LiDAR technology and remote sensing data in areas with a high risk of fire to validate vegetation management work

  • Using technology to detect downed power lines and early-stage equipment failures within minutes (thus reducing the potential for ignitions caused by the utility’s assets)

  • Partnering with local communities to implement microgrid projects that enhance their local grid’s resilience

  • Working with customers to remove overhead wires in remote areas with high fire risks and replacing them with standalone power systems

PG&E is also making investments in electric system safety and reliability, as well as clean energy. Among its clean energy investments, electric vehicle charging is a high priority.


About The Author

ATKINSON has been a full-time business magazine writer since 1976. Contact him at [email protected]

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