Wildfire Risk Mitigation: A Paradigm Shift in Power Systems Planning and Operation
12 Oct 2020
John W. Muhs, Masood Parvania, and Mohammad Shahidehpour
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Managing the risk of wildfires has been arguably the biggest recent challenge of electric utilities with infrastructure located in the wildland-urban interface. Utilities are deploying solutions for wildfire risk mitigation, such as public safety power shutoffs, which are counter-intuitive from a reliability-centric operation paradigm. This article presents an overview of the challenges, implications, and potential strategies for wildfire risk mitigation in power systems, and introduces the vision for a wildfire-resilient power system. The wildfire risk management strategies presented in this article range from fault prevention methods such as structural hardening, vegetation management and implementing advanced protection systems, to arc-suppression and ignition prevention methods. This article also identifies relevant research opportunities associated with implementing wildfire mitigation techniques on power systems.