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Initial Resilience – Part 2

image credit: Wikipedia

This series looks at how various utility components impact resilience. In order to do that we are reviewing each type of component, one at a time, along any factors that significantly impact resilience, economics or climate change.

In Part 2 of this series we will look at protective automation, which involve protective relays and systems, as well as some suggestions to reduce the overall use of these, primarily effective vegetation management.

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John Benson's picture

Thank John for the Post!

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Discussions

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 17, 2019 5:34 pm GMT

Effective oversight and management of vegetation certainly isn't a place to cut corners, and sadly we saw California live through what could be considered an example of that

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Dec 17, 2019 6:06 pm GMT

Thanks for the comment, Matt.

All three major electric IOUs in California have had issues with vegetation management PG&E, SCE and SDGE, but California also has the largest (LADWP) and one of the other largest (SMUD) municipal utilities in the U.S., and, to my knowledge, they have not had similar issues. Maybe this speaks to an inherent weakness in the IOU business model when it comes to electric utilities. However, PG&E is definitely the poster child for these issues. They also appear to be slow learners as witnessed by my post a few days ago (link below).

https://www.energycentral.com/c/pip/california-v-pge

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Dec 17, 2019 6:17 pm GMT

"California also has the largest (LADWP) and one of the other largest (SMUD) municipal utilities in the U.S., and, to my knowledge, they have not had similar issues. Maybe this speaks to an inherent weakness in the IOU business model when it comes to electric utilities."

More likely, John, municipal utilities operate in areas where vegetation has been reduced by development. There's not as much stuff to burn.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 17, 2019 10:25 pm GMT

Interesting point-- wonder if there's any solid data on 'level of vegetation' in different service areas

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Dec 18, 2019 5:52 pm GMT

Bob is right.

Although both SMUD and (especially) DWP have large areas for munis, they are tiny compared with PG&E. A point I made in a recent post - go through the link below to section 3.2.

https://www.energycentral.com/c/pip/california-wildfires-utilities-and-grid-resiliency-part-2

Note that there is a map showing service areas in this section. Also note that DWP has a large rural area well north of LA.

However, PG&E has sparked some of the largest wildfires in the state's history (ditto SDGE and Edison, but they appeared to have cleaned up their act recently). I cannot recall either SMUD or DWP having a single significant wildfire, and I would remember - these are both former customers (ditto PG&E, SCE and SDGE).

-John

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