PG&E Briefs Financial Community on the Company`s 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Work and Future Infrastructure Plans
August 10, 2021 -- Earlier this week, operational and emergency response leaders from PG&E Corporation and Pacific Gas and Electric Company briefed representatives from the financial community on the company's progress on investing in electric and gas infrastructure that is safe, reliable and clean for customers in Northern and Central California. Approximately 150 members of the financial community received an in-depth briefing at PG&E's Wildfire Command Center in San Ramon, Calif., where company leaders track daily progress in key areas such as electric system hardening, miles of power lines cleared of vegetation and trees, equipment inspections, weather status, and future risk-reduction work plans. PG&E's Wildfire Safety Operations Center also recently relocated to San Ramon from the company's previous headquarters in San Francisco.
A link to the financial community briefing materials can be found here.
'We are encouraging investors from around the world to deploy their capital in California to reimagine and rebuild our energy system to make it safer and more reliable. As we are seeing with California's current drought-fueled wildfires, we are in a war on climate change, and investment capital is one of the necessary tools in our arsenal to deliver the energy system that our hometowns deserve,' said Patti Poppe, CEO of PG&E Corporation.
Outside Capital Investments Required to Support Customers and Communities
Each year, PG&E invests approximately $7.5 billion in its electric, gas and generation infrastructure. About $5 billion of that figure comes from customer rates on a yearly basis. Therefore, the company must secure an additional $2.5 billion in funding from non-customer financial sources like investors to make up the difference. Those outside investments are needed to fund accelerated risk reduction and safety improvements, reliability upgrades, and clean energy assets that help California meet its climate goals.
Recently Announced Initiative to Underground 10,000 Miles of Power Lines
PG&E recently announced a major new initiative to expand the undergrounding of electric distribution power lines in High Fire Threat Districts (HFTDs) to further harden its system and help prevent wildfires.
The new infrastructure safety initiative is a multi-year effort to underground approximately 10,000 miles of power lines, or about half the distance around the globe. PG&E's commitment represents the largest effort in the U.S. to underground power lines as a wildfire risk reduction measure and will require significant additional investor funding to realize in the coming years.
The exact number of projects or miles undergrounded each year through PG&E's new expanded undergrounding program will evolve as PG&E performs further project scoping and inspections, estimating and engineering review.
PG&E's Commitment to Community Wildfire Safety
Investors also received an update on PG&E's multi-faceted Community Wildfire Safety Program, which includes both immediate and long-term action plans to further reduce wildfire risk and keep its customers and communities safe.
Since 2018, PG&E's wildfire safety work has resulted in:
- Multiple inspections of distribution, transmission and substation equipment in high fire-threat areas;
- Hardening more than 600 miles with stronger lines and poles to better withstand severe weather;
- Conducting enhanced vegetation safety work on nearly 5,000 line miles in high fire-threat areas (this is in addition to the more than 5 million trees that PG&E has trimmed or removed as part of its routine vegetation management and tree mortality efforts);
- Installing more than 1,000 sectionalizing devices and switches that limit the size of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) that are necessary to mitigate the risk of wildfires;
- Installing more than 1,150 advanced weather stations to help PG&E gather more data and information to better predict and respond to extreme weather threats;
- Installing more than 400 high-definition cameras to monitor and respond to wildfires;
- Reserving more than 65 helicopters to quickly restore power after severe weather during PSPS events; and
- Monitoring wildfire threats in real-time through a dedicated team at PG&E's Wildfire Safety Operations Center, which is staffed 24 hours a day during wildfire season.
Ongoing PG&E Wildfire Mitigation and Resiliency Efforts
PG&E's ongoing safety work to enhance grid resilience and address the growing threat of severe weather and wildfires continues on a risk-based and data-driven basis, as outlined in PG&E's 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan.
- Installing stronger poles and covered power lines;
- Deploying remote grids and community microgrids;
- Targeted sectionalizing and grid reconfiguration;
- Investing in centralized data analytics to reduce risk;
- Conducting enhanced vegetation management; and
- Scaling the deployment of emerging technologies to proactively mitigate wildfire risk.
More informationabout PG&E's wildfire safety efforts is available at pge.com/wildfiresafety.
Upcoming Events of Interest from SGO:
3rd Utility Cyber Security Forum, October 6-7, 2021, Chicago
8th Annual Demand Response & Distributed Energy Resources World Forum, October 12-14, 2021 in Los Angeles