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Signs of Life Amidst the Napa Fire Damage

PG&E, Pacific Union College Partner on Resilience Zone in High Fire-Threat Area in Napa County

Jan. 23, 2019
The presence of the Resilience Zone would allow temporary mobile generation to connect to the grid quickly

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Pacific Union College are collaborating on a project in Angwin to support wildfire prevention. Known as a Resilience Zone, this pilot project is part of PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program and involves infrastructure upgrades that will allow the company to provide electricity to central community resources serving local customers if power lines need to be turned off for safety due to high wildfire threats.

For public safety, and only as a last resort, PG&E may need to shut off power lines serving communities in high fire-threat areas when extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted. If a Public Safety Power Shutoff were needed in the Angwin area of Napa County, the presence of the Resilience Zone would allow temporary mobile generation to connect to the grid quickly and energize centrally located facilities such as the fire station and gas station, as well as the Brookside Apartments and portions of the Angwin Plaza not served by on-campus generation.

“In the aftermath of the devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018, PG&E has been exploring how to quickly but safely provide power to areas where a Public Safety Power Shutoff has been initiated,” said Brandon Parker, vice president for financial administration at Pacific Union College. “Angwin and Pacific Union College provide an excellent location for this pilot and this partnership.”

This project will include infrastructure upgrades to enable temporary power generation, undergrounding certain portions of power lines, and installing stronger, more resilient poles and covered power lines. Other components include a transformer and associated interconnection equipment as well as a ground grid, and grid isolation and protection devices. Pre-installing this equipment will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to connect temporary generation to the grid.

“This partnership provides an opportunity to strengthen our Public Safety Power Shutoff program for this region by providing another safety net for customers who would be impacted by a proactive power shutoff,” said Aaron Johnson, PG&E vice president of Electric Operations. “The cooperation between PG&E, Pacific Union College and Angwin is a crucial part of this important project and we are excited to be working together to further enhance the safety of the community.”

Given the continued and growing threat of wildfire, PG&E is evolving and expanding its Community Wildfire Safety Program. Following the 2017 wildfires, PG&E launched the program in March 2018 as an additional precautionary measure to further reduce wildfire risks and help keep its customers and the communities it serves safe.

The Angwin Resilience Zone project is currently under construction near the college’s baseball field and is expected to be completed in early 2019. It is being constructed on a permanent easement and was designed in such a way to ensure access to the baseball diamond and field parking.

Community Wildfire Safety Program

PG&E’s comprehensive Community Wildfire Safety Program includes real-time monitoring and intelligence capabilities, new and enhanced safety measures and a critical hardening of its electric system to strengthen the safety and resiliency of the electric grid to further reduce future wildfire risks. More information can be found at www.pge.com/wildfiresafety.

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