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SDG&E Recognized for Wildfire Mitigation Predictive Modeling Technology

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) was recently honored by Public Utilities Fortnightly with a “2023 Bertha Lamme Top Innovator Award” for developing and using the Wildfire Next Generation System (WiNGS), to help protect communities it serves from regional wildfire risk. 

“Receiving this award is a testament to the dedication and pioneering spirit of our team at SDG&E,” said Brian D’Agostino, vice president of wildfire and climate science at SDG&E. "We are immensely proud of the groundbreaking work accomplished by our data experts, whose innovative approach has elevated our wildfire prevention initiatives to unprecedented heights, improving the safety and security of our communities.” 

WiNGS is a cloud-based tool that combines visual representations of SDG&E’s infrastructure with real-time weather data and information from wildfire mitigation initiatives, including historical ignitions, tree strike analysis, wildfire modeling, Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) probability and critical customer locations. The state-of-the-art system uses this data to model climate scenarios and recommends grid-hardening initiatives, like prioritizing and strategically undergrounding power lines in high-risk areas, to help prevent utility-related wildfires, reduce the likelihood and duration of PSPS, and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

BEHIND THE INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT OF WiNGS 

In November of 2021, SDG&E’s Wildfire Mitigation, Enterprise Risk Management, and IT Digital Innovation teams joined forces to develop a proof of concept with the aim of accomplishing two goals:

  • Leverage data and analytics for generating visualizations that facilitate decision-making during Public Safety Power Shutoffs, enabling users to simulate hypothetical scenarios by adjusting various requirements and parameters, such as weather conditions.
  • Support the company’s Wildfire Mitigation Program investments by providing SDG&E leaders and scientists with a geospatial view of recommended mitigation actions and associated risk reduction.

"WiNGS has proven to be a vital tool to help us prioritize wildfire hardening projects based on robust fire science data and real-world situations,” said D’Agostino. “The intel it provides allows us to make strategic infrastructure improvements that will continue to help reduce the risk of wildfire, as well as the impacts to our customers during Public Safety Power Shutoffs in the future.”

WiNGS has become another important tool in SDG&E’s toolbox to reduce the chances of a utility-related wildfire and helps guide the development and implementation of its Wildfire Mitigation Plan (WMP) filed annually with the state’s Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety. The WMP outlines the ongoing practices and additional improvements SDG&E will make to combat the effects of climate change and year-round wildfire threats. For more information on SDG&E most recent WMP, visit sdge.com/2023-wildfire-mitigation-plan 

SDG&E is an innovative San Diego-based energy company that provides clean, safe and reliable energy to better the lives of the people it serves in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The company is committed to creating a sustainable future by providing its electricity from renewable sources; modernizing natural gas pipelines; accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles; supporting numerous non-profit partners; and, investing in innovative technologies to ensure the reliable operation of the region’s infrastructure for generations to come. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). For more information, visit SDGEnews.com or connect with SDG&E on Twitter (@SDGE), Instagram (@SDGE) and Facebook

Group photo of Award Recipients