Liberty has been hard at work hardening our infrastructure to not only improve service reliability but also reduce the risk of wildfire ignition. The projects below specifically address wildfire mitigation measures as well as reducing the need and/or severity of public safety power shutoffs (PSPS).
Wildfire Mitigation Projects - Residential - California Electric - Liberty
ONGOING - Covered conductor is wire that has an insulated cover which protects against sparking, shorts from wire slaps, and reduces or eliminates exposed bare wire. Liberty is actively replacing bare wire with covered conductor in some of the highest fire risk areas including the Topaz and West Lake Tahoe areas.
ONGOING - Crews continue to remove overhead conductors that are currently attached to trees, adding poles where needed and relocating the conductor attachments to a properly treated pole. Tree attachments were common many years ago and may pose a fire risk, they can also cause issues if the tree grows or dies and falls over taking the overhead conductor with it. As part of the Wildfire Mitigation plan, Liberty is working systematically to remove all tree mounted infrastructure.
ONGOING - The Brockway substation was built in the 1960’s, is made of wood, and has been deemed a fire hazard by the local fire department. Construction is underway on a brand new substation just up the street and once complete, Liberty will decommission the old wooden substation. The new substation will also provide better more reliable electric service to the north shore of Lake Tahoe.
ONGOING - Liberty continues to work through the system to replace traditional expulsion fuses with non-expulsion fuses. Crews have been systematically replacing fuses with a focus on the highest risk areas. The traditional fuses expel hot gas and particles when blown which can ignite a fire should that hot material land on dry fuel. The new non-expulsion fuses do not expel any material making them much safer from a fire ignition perspective.
ONGOING - Liberty has selected a contractor to thoroughly inspect and document the entire overhead electrical distribution system. This project is underway and will provide detailed insight and allow cross referencing to be sure all expulsion fuses, tree attachments, etc. are replaced.
ONGOING - A year round ongoing effort to reduce fire hazards around high voltage infrastructure, Liberty and its contractor have treated and/or removed approximately 6,500 trees/vegetation thus far in 2020.
ONGOING - Liberty continues to build out a network of local weather stations to provide real time weather data throughout the service territory. In addition to the weather stations, Liberty is also utilizing the AlertWildfire camera network in partnership with the University Nevada Reno as well as well as piloting a new technology called distribution fault anticipation, which helps to detect minor faults before they become catastrophic.
ONGOING - Liberty crews are working on another Lake Tahoe saving project at Emerald Bay State Park near the historic Vikingsholm castle. The Wildfire Prevention Project consists of 25 pole replacements to install covered conductor and harden the electrical distribution lines to prevent wildfire. Tree trimming and removal will occur. Most poles will be hand dug to avoid unnecessary disturbance.
ONGOING - Liberty is installing automatic reclosers to allow for better control during system faults, as well as the ability to control them remotely. These devices will help reduce wildfire ignition risk while improving service reliability.
COMPLETE – Construction of Liberty’s first microgrid at UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station is complete. A microgrid is a decentralized electric source and distribution that can provide electric power to an isolated area of the electrical distribution system and be synchronized with the full system, providing additional power and load balancing. The system allows Sagehen to operate almost exclusively on solar power during the summer months. The microgrid contributes to Liberty’s wildfire mitigation infrastructure hardening efforts and sustainability and 100% renewable energy goals.