California already is facing the consequences of climate change, including severe drought, heat waves, stronger storms and more wildfires.
And those challenges are just as relevant to PG&E. One of the most pressing concerns has been weakened trees, which caused the bark beetle infestation. Last year, the number of dead trees proliferated, creating wildfire hazards should the fallen trees fall on power lines.
PG&E added aerial and foot patrols to identify these dead, dying and diseased trees across 70,000 miles of our service area. This has resulted in the identification of 236,000 dead trees in 2016 alone.
“We want to make sure we’re not only protecting our own assets, our infrastructure, operations and our employees, but also the communities that we serve from the climate change impacts that we’re already seeing and those that are forecasted to increase in the future,” said Kit Batten, PG&E’s climate resilience chief.
In addition, PG&E has worked extensively with local communities and Fire Safe Councils to address their needs. The energy company funded about $2 million in projects in 2017 to mitigate wildfire risks in local communities.
And earlier this year, PG&E launched its $1 million Better Together Resilient Communities grant program to help communities better prepare for, withstand and recover from extreme events caused by climate change.
“We need to continue to partner with federal, state and local agencies to build climate resilience and integrate it into our operating plans,” said Jay Singh, director of compliance and vegetation management for PG&E.
PG&E is tackling climate change head on, not just for today but for the future, said Jon Foley, a member of PG&E’s Sustainability Advisory Council.
“It’s about the future of our kids, their health, their security, the economy and jobs,” said Foley, the executive director of the California Academy of Sciences. “All the things we really want together as Americans are intimately tied to the state of the environment. If patterns of climate continue to change as we’re seeing already, it’s an issue for everybody and one we should all take together quite seriously.”
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.