The Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) hosted two Stanford University students this summer, who completed a remote internship and hosted a webinar to explore opportunities for developing a regional data system that can help improve utility wildfire mitigation practices throughout the West. The interns analyzed data from the 2019 Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events in California and determined that current data collection and reporting practices for instances of circuit damage and other “ignition near miss” events were inadequate. They suggest improvements to these procedures that can better inform three broad categories of wildfire mitigation actions: vegetation management, grid hardening, and sectionalization. The webinar culminates in a framework for building a Wildfire Mitigation Data System, analogous to NERC’s Transmission Availability Data System (TADS). The information, which would be collected and shared in an accessible format throughout the Western Interconnection, could help reduce costs by allocating utility resources more efficiently and improve overall grid reliability by sharing best practices for reducing utility-caused wildfires.
The WIEB – Stanford University 2020 Summer Interns were:
- Alex Evers, B.S. candidate in Earth Systems, Class of 2022
- Prateek Joshi, M.S. candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Class of 2021
The WIEB – Stanford University Summer Internship is a collaboration between WIEB and multiple Stanford programs including the Precourt Institute for Energy, the Bill Lane Center for the American West, the Haas Center for Public Service, and the Stanford in Government Summer Fellowships program.
A copy of the slides is available HERE.