Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (OTEC) captures valuable data feedback in the fight to mitigate fire risk for its members and communities as a part of the OTEC wildfire preparedness plan. Wildfire preparedness plans are a result of legislation passed in Senate Bill 762 after the devastating Oregon Labor Day fires in 2020. The central focus for the bill is leveraging new technology to assess risks more accurately across their systems. It requires utilities to have their wildfire preparedness plans approved by the Public Utility Commission, including their plans for preemptive blackouts.
In a recent webinar highlighting smart energy platforms, enxchange CEO David Swank, Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (OTEC) Director of Operations Eric Wirfs, and Activu’s Energy Market Manager Joe Bernal, discuss the potential of energy platforms to enhance wildfire prevention, response, and recovery efforts. As wildfires continue to pose a significant threat to ecosystems and human lives, finding innovative solutions is crucial.
“I applaud Eric and the OTEC team because they understand and embrace that in order to achieve the goals of wildfire confrontation and mitigation that will protect lives and property, we must see things differently, do things differently, and deliver things differently. OTEC is a champion of this kind of culture, and we are proud to partner with them on this issue.” David Swank
OTEC is a rural electric cooperative that serves over 31,000 meters, maintains 3,039 miles of line and a territory that spans 6,734 miles. Director of Operations Eric Wirfs stated, “We look at this partnership as an opportunity to better serve our members with this tool.. . This is a growing concern for utilities across the nation and will take innovative approaches to address. We are grateful for the partnership we have with enxchange and the opportunity to advance these tools for the utility industry as a whole.”
OTEC has partnered with enxchange, a technology company born out of the utility space, to implement and monitor the deployed energy platform Public Safety Power Management (PSPM) solution and wireless sensor network. The PSPM solution alerts the utility of weather-related outage risks that not only detect conditions related to wildfire risks, but other weather events as well. This sensor network is integrated with the National Weather Service and connects miles of valuable data feedback that is sent to the enxchange energy platform for data visualization, fire risk warning, and power shutoff notification. The enxPSPM solution is built on the understanding that coordination and sharing data in a single view will significantly impact wildfire mitigation.
The Activu enx vis|ability integration plays a significant role in providing that single view of data visualization. This command center functionality provides situational awareness in a common operating picture. It takes the visual layer of the analytics ingested into the enxchange platform into an organized layout drag and drop format. It separates the noise and allows the user to create the story they need to make decisions quickly and effectively. Activu’s energy market manager Joe Bernal said, “David and his team have tied real-world problems into a solution and Eric and the OTEC community is living that real-world reality. OTECs feedback about the value the platform provides is something we take seriously when developing and building customized solutions.”
Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (OTEC) is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperative that serves nearly 60,000 residents in four counties in Eastern Oregon. Headquartered in Baker City, OTEC has district offices in Burns, John Day and La Grande.
enxchange, (enx), headquartered in McKinney, TX., is a team of engineers, data scientists, energy experts, and innovators with over 100 years of experience in the energy sector. This team understands structure utilization, load design, the true cost of a megawatt, and the factors that cause inefficiencies in energy management systems.
The enx innovative, patent-pending energy platform allows clients of all sizes and sectors to take advantage of a highly digitized and dynamic energy environment of multidirectional networks which support two-way energy flows.
The enx comprehensive solutions portfolio includes:
• enxPSPM: Public Safety and Power Management • enxDERM: Distributed Energy Resource Management • enxvis|abiity: Digital Operations Centers • enxIntelligentMarketplace: Supply Chain Management • enxMicrogrid: Digital Twin
These solutions promote energy resiliency, sustainability, and renewable energy initiatives.