To minimize the risk of wildfires in California, PG&E (the state’s largest utility provider) decided to cut the power of close to 2 million Californians – the most extensive intentional blackout in history. In an ironic twist of fate, there’s talk that the Kincade fire – responsible for burning close to 77,000 acres so far, may have started by a PG&E transmission line that did not shut down.
While this may aid in minimizing the frequency of wildfires, according to a recent Vox article, it seems California residence must now choose between power outages or wildfires. Surely there has to be a more proactive strategy.
Vox goes on to outline methods to make California’s electricity system cleaner, more reliable and resilient. “In a nutshell, it is accelerating the evolution from a centralized, top-down, long-distance, one-way energy system to a more decentralized, bottom-up, local, networked system. In the energy world, this is summed up as a more distributed energy system. It puts more power, both electrical and political, in local hands.”
Check out Vox’s original article to learn more about distributed energy, microgrids and the relationship between the two.