Sandia Uses Electric Grid Analytics To Combat Wildfire Risks & Aid Post-Wildfire Recovery

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Wildfires impact the safety and security of society. The electric grid can initiate wildfires and is also susceptible to wildfires.

Sandia’s wildfire grid resilience program aims to mitigate and determine risk of ignition, reduce wildfire spread, and decrease consequences of major wildfires through new tools and better informed decision making. With improved information pre-wildfire, early response during wildfires, and accelerated recovery following wildfires, we can  increase safety, minimize damage, and maximize energy availability.

Wildfire grid resiliency is important to national security

Our vision is to have the right information available at the right time to maximize the resilience of the U.S. electric power grid, minimize Public Safety Power Shutoffs, and maximize the security of people to wildfires, this includes:

  • Knowing and predicting risks pre-wildfire
  • Developing engineering tools and decision-making tools to optimize grid investments for planning-for and preventing future wildfires
  • Responding early and effectively during wildfires
  • Accelerating recovery following wildfires

Article above via Sandia National Labs.

Here’s more about Sandia’s wildfire grid resilience work: 

Sandia’s wildfire grid resilience program aims to mitigate the ignition and decrease consequences of major wildfires through new tools and improved information pre-wildfire, early response during wildfires to increase safety and minimize damage, and accelerated recovery following wildfires to maximize energy availability.

Better wildfire modeling, monitoring, and planning tools allows significantly reduction in consequences once a wildfire ignites, and better grid devices can reduce the probabilities of grid ignited wildfires.

Responding early and effectively during wildfires is key to reducing wildfire consequences. A better understanding of wildfire ignition and lightning ignition probabilities can improve wildfire response time. Better grid component modeling and monitoring can reduce grid ignited wildfires and better uncertainty modeling and visualization can help decision makers understand when and if Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) are needed and when and if evacuations are needed.

Why is wildfire grid resiliency important to national security?

Our vision is to have the right information available at the right time to maximize the resilience of the U.S. electric power grid and maximize the security of people to wildfires, this includes:

  • Knowing and predicting risks pre wildfire and developing tools aimed at planning for future wildfires
  • Responding early and effectively during wildfires
  • Accelerating recovery following wildfires

Sandia aims to help accelerate electric grid recovery efforts following wildfires by working closely with utilities and employing an agile optimized restoration process to ensure critical infrastructure is returned to service quickly and effectively.

Wildfire Resilience Program Goals

Our research is divided into three main categories of action to help appropriately address wildfire needs: pre-wildfire, during wildfire, and post-wildfire. Explore those in more detail here.


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