PacifiCorp selected for federal infrastructure funding to enhance wildfire mitigation

PORTLAND, Ore.  — PacifiCorp is pleased to announce it has been selected for award negotiations on two major, competitive infrastructure grants by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office. These Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships grants, funded by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, support wildfire mitigation projects that will greatly benefit our customers and communities.

The U.S. Department of Energy will be investing roughly $150 million in key PacifiCorp grid resilience projects that touch the six western states within the company’s service area.

Just under $100 million in federal funding will support PacifiCorp’s Equity-aware Enhancement of grid Resiliency (PEER) project, which is designed to reduce the impact of extreme weather events on portions of the electrical grid serving disadvantaged communities in areas at highest risk for wildfire.

An additional $50 million in funding will go toward the company’s Resiliency Enhancement for Fire mitigation and Operational Risk Management (REFORM) project, which enhances control center capabilities with technological improvements and improves situational awareness through sophisticated weather forecasting models and artificial intelligence-enabled cameras that detect wildfires.

Both grants include community benefits managed in collaboration with labor unions and local organizations – including skilled workforce training, supplier diversity and community engagement.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure significant federal funding for programs that support our customers, especially those in historically underrepresented and marginalized communities,” said Rohit Nair, PacifiCorp’s director of engineering standards and grid modernization. “We are committed to improving resilience and reliability in those communities, and will be matching these federal funds dollar-for-dollar with our own investment in these programs.”

The government funding will help reduce the likelihood and consequence of wildfires, minimize the impacts to the grid due to extreme weather and align resilience investments with state, Tribal and regional plans. The projects’ scope includes:

  • Hundreds of miles of covered conductor
  • Thousands of fire-resistant poles
  • Thousands of non-expulsion fuses
  • Workforce development and pre-apprentice programs
  • Enhanced forecasting capabilities for wildfire risk management
  • Improved grid resiliency and reliability

PacifiCorp would like to thank its key partners in supporting its grant application, including labor union partners (IBEW Local 125, IBEW Local 57, IBEW Local 77 and IBEW Local 659), subrecipients (Rural Development Initiative, Crater Lake Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Center), higher education partners (University of Utah, Utah State University, College of the Siskiyous, Oregon Institute of Technology), and state and local agency and tribal partners.

100% of the infrastructure upgrades identified in the PEER program and 50% of the upgrades in REFORM will impact underserved and Tribal communities. The two projects combined will benefit tens of thousands of PacifiCorp customers in California, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.