April 17, 2019

Sempra’s San Diego Gas & Electric Is Proving that Not All Innovators Wear Lab Coats

Matt Letourneau

Sempra’s San Diego Gas & Electric Is Proving that Not All Innovators Wear Lab Coats

When we think of innovation, images of scientists dressed in lab coats often come to mind.  But some of the most important innovation in the electricity industry is actually occurring…in a weather center?

And not just any weather center. In a modest sized room in San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) Emergency Operations Center sits a team of meteorologists who are monitoring one of the most sophisticated weather mapping programs in the United States.  That team is on the frontlines of managing one of California’s biggest threats: wildfires.

The service area of San Diego Gas & Electric, a Sempra utility, is particularly prone to wildfires.   All of us have seen the terrible images of these fires and are familiar with the destruction that they can cause.  What we may not have thought about is the relationship between these fires and the electricity grid.

That’s where SDG&E’s team and innovative technology comes in.   They are analyzing data from 177 weather stations throughout the San Diego region to model threats, manage the electricity grid (such as preemptively de-electrifying segments), notify the public of impending dangers, and help first responders. 

Our video introduces you to the dedicated team at SDG&E and demonstrates that investments in energy innovation can help save lives—and keep the lights on.  It’s no wonder that SDG&E was recognized with an Edison Award for their efforts—the electricity industry’s most prestigious honor.