Grid Hardening

WEI’s Members see Grid Hardening as the new area for infrastructure improvements, upgrades to communications, and service to customers. Wildfires are not the only risk to the grid. The WEI Grid Hardening Track will address a variety of risks to the grid plus tools and solutions in what has become the largest Track in the history of the Operations Conference.

With twenty-five Members supporting the development of the 2021 Grid Hardening agenda, nearly 40 guest expert speakers, electric utility professionals involved in assessing and managing wildfire risk and other major events will find these six sessions impossible to miss.

This track is sponsored by:

Meet the Grid Hardening Program Development Team. For questions or more information on this track, please contact Jessica Grant at 971.930.2032.

Learn more about the Operations Conference.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
High Tech Hardening: Aligning Fire Risk Mitigation with Grid Operations
Speakers: Daqing Hou, R&D, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
Brian D’Agostino, Director, Fire Science and Climate Adaptation, San Diego Gas & Electric Company
As fire season grows longer and more severe by the year, utilities in the west are looking towards technology to “Harden” their systems. The professionals responsible for managing the utility grid operations are continually looking for cost effective and innovative solutions, in order to reduce and hopefully eliminate the risk of a catastrophic fire event. This session explores these technological solutions that are currently being tested and implemented in the world of fire mitigation.

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Innovation and Technology: Managing Risk Using Advanced Technology
Speakers: Anthony D. Palizzi, Regional Manager Power, Americas, Fugro USA Land, Inc.
Chris Arends, Meteorology Program Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric Company
Emil Abdelshehid, Manager – Power System Information and Advanced Technology, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
Fugro’s “Eyes in the Sky Using Technologies” presentation will detail how they are using the most advanced Lidar technology and high-resolution imagery to break the traditional methods of inspection and maintenance ideologies. With the assistance of drones, helicopters, fixed-wing aircrafts and satellite, utilities can have the most accurate information displayed on their desktops.
San Diego Gas & Electric and Los Angeles Department of Water & Power will share current technologies used to manage the grid, wildfire, and rehabilitation of the grid. Learn how your current grid technology can create a comprehensive foundation to create grid modernization strategies that prevent wildfires and inform rehabilitation post disastrous events.

This session is sponsored by:

2:15 PM – 3:30 PM
Get the Most Out of Your Wildfire Mitigation, and Prove It, too!
Speakers: Paul McGregor, Director, Electric Operations Risk Management and Analytics, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Gary H. Cheng, Senior Advisor, Southern California Edison
Sarah Almujahed, Wildfire Mitigation Strategy Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric Company
Darin Johnson, President, BIS Consulting, LLC
Ted Zalucki, CEO, Engineered Intelligence Inc.
Ryan Flynn-Deonis, P&U Consultant, KPMG LLP
West Coast wildfires are increasing in both frequency and intensity as our climate continues to change. Utility regulators, as well as the general public, are demanding electric utilities do more to reduce the risk of powerline ignitions, and in response utilities are ramping up their wildfire mitigation efforts. When considering different mitigations, utilities need ways to objectively compare the various efforts based on their effectiveness at reducing risk frequency and consequence. How does one determine if the efforts are worth it? Come learn about how to quantify risk; how to assess mitigations; how risk managers use Risk Spend Efficiency ratio to compare cost-effectiveness of various mitigation alternatives; and how utilities can tie asset level strategies to segment level strategies, and eventually to system-level strategies.

This session is sponsored by:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
The Importance of Customer Communication + How To Do It
Speakers: Lindsey Walimaki, Supervisor, Communications Initiatives, Puget Sound Energy
Christina Hallows, Distribution Public Involvement Representative, Salt River Project
Tomaso Giannelli, Senior Manager, Business Customer Division, Puget Sound Energy
Jennifer Bauman, Customer Outreach Coordinator, Communications Initiatives, Puget Sound Energy
In the age of constant communication and instant feedback, utilities need to advance to meet up with customer demand for information. Whether it is a proactive project, a reactive weather-related outage, or a little of both, customers expect to know what is going on and when in their neighborhood. This session will teach you ways to better communicate with customers and build trust so that when things go sideways, they have a way to get the most up to date information as quickly as possible.

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Risk-based Asset Management
Speakers: Mark Esguerra, Senior Director, Asset Strategy, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Bryan Landry, Senior Advisor – Modeling, Forecasting and Economic Analysis, Southern California Edison
Timothy Fisher, Supervising Engineer, ATCO Electric
Explore how to improve asset availability and meet reliability goals by applying a risk-based approach to asset maintenance and operations. See examples of how to prioritize reliability efforts on critical equipment and failures that impact your operation.

2:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Portfolio + Program Management: Successfully Herding Cats
Speakers: Lamis El Didi, Principal, Exponent
Karolina Athanasopoulou, Manager, Construction Consulting, Exponent
Richard Brown, Practice Director, Exponent
Craig Kreinest, Team Lead, San Diego Gas & Electric Company
Kirsten Petersen, Senior Engineer, San Diego Gas & Electric Company
Exponent will present on how to develop a hardening strategy, select hardening tactics, and design a system hardening plan that has a high likelihood of receiving favorable cost recovery treatment by regulators. The speakers will discuss the benefits of taking a programmatic and structured approach to manage multiple parallel efforts in a coordinated way.

Speakers from San Diego Gas & Electric will discuss how strategic prioritization, data-driven decisions, and geospatial mapping shape their portfolio and ensure the successful execution of distribution infrastructure hardening projects.