Dan Shugar

Shug Speaks

CA Wildfires as Part of Growing Trend

November 14, 2018

Photo Courtesy of Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

Friends, 88 dead, hundreds still missing, 18,000 fire-ravaged structures and counting…this year’s Northern California fires have done more damage than the previous 15 years of fire in California combined. At this moment, schools are closed and it is difficult to breath outside across the region.  

But California is not alone. Fires have been increasing in intensity globally. Temperature records are being surpassed every day with extraordinary heat waves enveloping wide swaths of the world. While fires can be chalked up to human behavior in some cases, planetary climate changes are also accelerating ecological instability, says David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania in Australia. He continues, “It is causing fire seasons to start earlier and finish later. We are seeing more severe, more intense and longer lasting wildfires causing more loss of life and property. Fires used to be seen as local, but we should see them as part of a global-scale phenomenon.”

I’m no climate scientist but connecting the dots with the increasingly extreme hurricanes leads one to one conclusion: we are messing with mother nature and she doesn’t like it. The 2018 hurricane season was plagued with ever more intensive storms impacting the East and Southern coastlines. The storms were about extreme wind and water.

We are going to need to work together to solve these environmental issues. For our part, we are redoubling our effort to encourage the transition to clean energy and save money for ratepayers while also contributing to the climate solution. 

Join the conversation around California’s wildfires and renewables as a climate solution here.
Read a Utility Dive article on NEXTracker’s hurricane-tested tracker systems here.  

 

[WHITE PAPER] The increase in extreme weather events also has implications for the solar industry in engineering and designing systems properly to withstand dynamic wind loads and other extreme weather conditions. At NEXTracker, we have designed for reliability from the ground up and invested heavily in pioneering wind tunnel R&D work that explores the critical importance of analyzing the static and dynamic effects of wind on PV structures. 

My colleagues Alex Roedel and Stuart Upfill-Brown developed an interactive white paper with solar power plant developers, asset owners, EPCs, and independent engineers in mind.

Read this interactive white paper resource to learn about dynamic effects of wind on PV structures, protective stow strategies, cost of downtime, and tracker architecture design for reliability and resiliency here