PG&E improves weather forecasting capabilities to address wildfires


PG&E, an energy provider to approximately 16 million people in the US state of California, is building a network of weather stations to advance its weather forecasting.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has since January 2018 added more than 50 weather stations, a development the utility is confident will help improve its prediction of the occurrence of wild fires, so it can respond quickly and appropriately in the event they occur.

The weather stations will help the service provider keep customers and communities they serve safe, improve management of grid networks by predicting future energy demand and match it with supply.

PG&E has plans to increase the number of weather stations to 200 by the end of 2018 under its Community Wildfire Safety Programme.

The weather stations will be built in areas including Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Marin, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and Tuolumne counties.

The stations will collect data, feed it into the utility’s new Wildfire Safety Operations Center for review, before making it accessible for use by state and local agencies and the public through online sources such as NOAA and MesoWest.

Kevin Dasso, PG&E vice president of Electric Asset Management, said: “We saw first-hand last year how extreme weather events driven by climate change are causing unprecedented and unanticipated wildfires.

“Adding new weather stations in high fire-threat areas across our service area enhances our weather forecasting and modeling to help bolster wildfire prevention and response efforts and keep our customers safe.”

The development will also help PG&E forecast threats associated with storms.