Alex Bloss - ATCO Electric Supervisor, Forest Operations
Nicholas Noyer - Pacific Gas & Electric Senior Manager, Wildfire Mitigation Plan PMO
Some 18 utilities facing significant wildfire risks in the US, Canada, Australia, and Chile have been actively participating in a best practice sharing, discovery, and collaboration forum called the International Wildfire Risk Mitigation Consortium (IWRMC). This ground-breaking exchange is led by utility experts in the realms of risk management, vegetation management, asset management, and operations, with overall program guidance provided by executives from each member utility. The level of wildfire risk exposure varies considerably between utilities across the world. The mission of the IWRMC is to accelerate learning by facilitating a massive increase in the amount and frequency of sharing between utilities dealing with these challenges across the globe. In just 18 months, Portland General Electric (PGE) built a dedicated organization for analyzing and managing wildfire risks, and for deploying specific mitigations across their service territory. PGE’s wildfire experts were able to meet with IWRMC participants in similar roles at other utilities on a monthly basis. By learning from the successes and failures of utilities farther along in their journey, PGE was able to stand up a lean, sophisticated, and capable wildfire organization in record time. In this session, we highlight important details from PGE’s journey and share some of the most impactful best practices to have surfaced from the IWRMC over the last several years.
We will provide insights related to key questions like:
- 1. What does maturity in wildfire risk mitigation look like?
- 2. How can we apply asset management principles to vegetation management?
- 3. What are the trade-offs between protection settings to reduce wildfire risks and customer reliability?
- 4. What does the future look like for Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS)?
- 5. How can utilities effectively manage the deluge of data coming from new sensors and equipment?
- 6. How can utilities create productive and mutually beneficial relationships with regulators on this topic?
- 7. How should electricity networks play a role beyond education and communication to help communities prepare for extreme weather events and possible disruptions of power?
- 8. How do utilities with emerging wildfire challenges balance risks against required investments?
- 9. What are the key differences in how utilities are approaching these questions around the world (Australia, South America, Europe, etc.)?