“There is no one-size-fits-all response to wildfire,” said Bill Messner, PGE’s director of WM&R. “We have a deeper understanding of where the greatest risk is and we’re delivering risk-reduction plans based on that analysis. But this work extends beyond wildfire season — ensuring system resiliency and making risk-management decisions is a year-round, multifaceted effort.”
AI Camera Detection System
As an example, PGE’s remote sensing program, a capital investment, uses light detection and ranging data, aerial imagery and hyperspectral imagery. The PGE team then uses analytics to inform predictive modeling for wildfire, asset management and geographic risk modeling. PGE also collaborates with fire and state agencies to make iterative improvements to the modeling. As a result, the technology helps PGE to make decisions that consider public safety, environmental and customer impacts, and costs in high-risk fire zones and public safety power shutoff areas.
“The Pano AI cameras enable PGE to keep up with the pace of climate change and wildfire risk while system hardening projects go from planning to execution,” Messner noted. “We are contributing to wildfire risk reduction across the state of Oregon and are serving as a leader in game-changing wildfire management and situational awareness.”
Early Fault Detection System
PGE put this new system to use in the summer of 2022, when a power line sustained damage in a high-risk fire zone near Mount Hood, Oregon. Understanding what was going on and where enabled PGE crews to correct the issue before a downed-wire ignition event could take place. PGE is placing EFD sensors in high-risk fire zones, which will help to minimize outage time by reducing the time it takes to travel to the fault location, which, depending on conditions, can take hours.
Rooted in Safety
Looking to the future, the company continues to enhance its situational awareness through advanced AI and tech, as well as using data analysis to improve on tried-and-true system hardening tactics for quicker and efficient project delivery. Whether these strategic investments live under the terms risk reduction, mitigation, or resilience the fact remains that this important work is rooted in a core company principle: Safety.