PG&E Says It Will Bury 10,000 Miles of Power Lines to Reduce California Fire Risk

2nd September, 2021.      //   General Interest  // 

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To help prevent sparking California wildfires, Pacific Gas and public utility has announced a serious new initiative to bury 10,000 miles of power lines underground.

In addition to significantly reducing wildfire risk, undergrounding also benefits customers by lessening the requirement for Public Safety Power Shutoffs—which are called as a final resort during dry, windy conditions to cut back the danger of vegetation contacting live power lines and setting off a wildfire.

This effort will help ease the necessity for vegetation management efforts, leaving more of California’s trees untouched.

“We have taken a stand that catastrophic wildfires shall stop,” said CEO Patti Poppe in a very statement. “We will gladly partner with policymakers and state and native leaders to map a path we are able to all believe.”

Making the shift happen
Pacific Gas and utility is that the nation’s largest fossil fuel and electric utility— serving over 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California.

In the past, undergrounding has been done on a pick, case-by-case basis, and largely for reasons aside from wildfire risk reduction.

Following the devastating October 2017 Northern California wildfires and therefore the 2018 Camp Fire, PG&E began to judge placing overhead power lines underground as a wildfire fortification, and to raised understand the development and value requirements related to undergrounding for system hardening purposes.

In 2019, PG&E announced it’d rebuild all its power lines underground within the Town of Paradise because it helps the community endure the Camp Fire.

The company is additionally rebuilding power lines underground within the 2020 North Complex Fire footprint in Butte County.

Through these and other demonstration projects and rebuild efforts, PG&E has been ready to refine the development and value requirements related to targeted undergrounding, enabling the acceleration and expansion of undergrounding projects.

“Ten thousand miles of [buried] line could be a trip halfway round the planet, 10,000 miles of line may be a trip from Chico to L.A. 11 times and back,” Poppe said. “We will partner with the simplest and therefore the brightest to seek out the simplest solutions to create this audacious goal come to life.”