Western Area Power Administration's territory covers all or part of 15 central and western states, which encompass several different ecosystems with specific environmental sensitivities. Wildfire risk is increasing in nearly all parts of WAPA's territory, and WAPA transmission assets were directly impacted by 2018's Carr Fire and "fire tornado" in northern California. As the federal utility faces imminent threats to power delivery from wildfires and strives to prevent and mitigate their effects on communities, WAPA has developed innovative and proactive measures based on specific ecosystems to limit wildfire exposure, reduce the risk of fires caused by powerlines and avoid the need for public safety power shutoffs.
Mark A. Gabriel is Administrator and CEO of the Western Area Power Administration, one of four power marketing administrations under the Department of Energy. As such, he reports directly to the Assistant Secretary of the DOE’s Office of Electricity. Gabriel manages the nonprofit federal organization, which markets and delivers low-cost federal hydropower from 57 hydroelectric plants to wholesale customers. He also serves as one of 30 CEOs on the Electricity Subsector Coordination Council for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.