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Wildfire Mitigation Data System (WMDS) for the Western Interconnection

Mike Blake (Reuters)
December 2, 2020
Alex Evers, B.S. Earth Systems '22

This research, which started as a 2020 Shultz Fellowship with the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) and has continued with the Bill Lane Center for the American West, is focused on creating a Western Interconnection-wide Wildfire Mitigation Data System (WMDS). The project proposes that data on ignition events and probable ignition events be collected from electric utilities throughout the Western Interconnection and subsequently aggregated into a regional data system. The goal is to help electric utilities and regulators mitigate ignition risks in the transmission and distribution system via a systematic analysis of the compiled data. The research thus far describes the motivation and framework for a WMDS, lists the specific data that would be collected, and suggests methodologies for capturing that data. 

A recording of the August 2020 webinar delivered to the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) members can be viewed here

Currently, the Bill Lane Center is exploring opportunities to launch a pilot project involving partner research institutions and publicly owned utilities (POUs) throughout the West. An overview of the pilot project proposal can be found in the documents below. If interested in learning more or getting involved in this research, please reach out.