When a power company embraces a Predict and Prevent approach to wildfire mitigation, it offers an opportunity for a company to take a leadership role in its communities. This shift not only enhances operational resilience but also contributes to a more sustainable and reliable energy infrastructure.
Effectively addressing the challenges posed by wildfires involves a dual focus on infrastructure hardening and fostering community responses. When both businesses/organizations on the ground (such as power companies, water utilities or land trusts) and communities work to mitigate risk and adapt to weather volatility, they jointly bolster overall system resilience.
Adopting the mantra of predict and prevent, as opposed to the traditional reactive models, marks a significant change in how electric utilities approach risk mitigation. This strategic shift has gained momentum, with industry professionals increasingly leaning into this proactive model.
While invoking Sherlock Holmes’ famous line, “The Game is Afoot!” traditionally indicated a determination to become detail oriented to solve a mystery, modern utility executives may hesitate to liken wildfire risk to a mere “game.” Nonetheless, adopting a Sherlock Holmes-like attention to detail is very helpful in significantly reducing losses stemming from wildfires.
Electric utility’s operational approach to wildfire risk mitigation is to match regions with appropriate situational awareness. as they navigate the complex landscape of managing wildfire risk. This includes an understanding of the environment, including real-time data on weather conditions, terrain characteristics, and potential ignition sources. As Randy Lyle says, “Don’t do stupid stuff on bad days.”
By combining the insights into the higher risk areas by Athena Intelligence with technologies like as sensors, satellite imagery, and weather monitoring systems, electric utilities mitigate and monitor landscape the factors that contribute to wildfire risk. A detail-oriented, proactive approach enables utilities to stay ahead of potential threats.
By focusing on areas that are projected to hold the risk of the most consequential fires, using actions to mitigate the risk, then incorporating situational awareness into business activities, electric utilities are empowered to enhance the reliability and resilience of their infrastructure. Utilities can more easily play a role in sharing information with relevant authorities and communities which may be doing prescribed burns or taking other actions. This information sharing fosters a collaborative and proactive approach to wildfire prevention and mitigation in the region.
With this type of comprehensive approach, electric utilities to not only protect their assets but also contribute to the overall safety and well-being of the communities they serve.
The increased fires of recent years underscore the importance of using the best tools currently available, such as Athena Intelligence’s risk maps, to increase the power industry’s commitment to proactive risk management and long-term resilience.
Athena Intelligence is a data vendor with a geospatial, conditional, profiling tool that pulls together vast amounts of disaggregated wildfire and environmental data to generate spatial intelligence, resulting in a digital fingerprint of wildfire risk.
For power companies, this helps them assess, a year in advance, where a consequential fire is most likely. For insurance or financial services companies, this assists in underwriting, portfolio risk optimization and loss cost probabilities for reserving.
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