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### Leveraging AI to Combat Colorado Wildfires Caused by Dust: Xcel Energy’s Innovative Approach

Xcel is expanding its work with Pano AI, a San Francisco-based company that will install 21 camera …

To combat the ongoing year-round conflict, Excel Energy Colorado is enhancing its capabilities by incorporating artificial intelligence technology. The company is allocating approximately $180 million towards fire reduction efforts.

By the conclusion of this year, Pano AI, a San Francisco-based company, is expected to install 21 camera systems covering over 1.5 million acres within Xcel’s operational area. These systems are designed to promptly alert Xcel and emergency responders upon detecting dust, facilitating swift response measures.

Pano utilizes artificial intelligence to analyze weather patterns and ground conditions by leveraging high-definition cameras capturing 360-degree views. These cameras are supplemented with data from satellite feeds and various sources, with continuous monitoring at a 24-hour data review center.

Robert Kenney, the chairman of Xcel Energy Colorado, disclosed plans to have 21 devices operational statewide by the end of 2023, strategically positioned across the Front Range and the Western Slope regions.

Acknowledging the significant and evolving threat posed by fires to communities and customers, Kenney emphasized the rapid environmental changes occurring in the western United States due to climate issues.

In response to the escalating challenges posed by larger and more destructive wildfires attributed to rising temperatures and arid conditions, organizations worldwide are increasingly turning to AI for proactive fire management. Pano AI, in addition to its deployment in seven states, Canada, and Australia, is collaborating with local entities in western Colorado to mitigate fire risks effectively.

Xcel’s collaboration with Pano signifies an expansion of its aerial initiatives, initially launched in Boulder, now extended to the Arvada Fire Protection District. Steven Parker, the fire marshal at Arvada, highlighted the progress made in enhancing connectivity with their transport facility through the partnership with Pano.

The joint effort between Xcel Energy and Pano AI aims to deploy 21 camera systems across Colorado, leveraging AI technology to swiftly detect fires and assess environmental conditions using a comprehensive data approach.

The recent devastating Marshall fire in Colorado serves as a stark reminder that wildfire threats extend beyond rural areas to densely populated regions. The blaze, which ravaged Louisville, Superior, and parts of Boulder County in December 2021, resulted in over $2 billion in property damage, claiming two lives, and destroying more than 1,000 homes.

As fire incidents increasingly encroach upon urban areas, the necessity for advanced fire detection and prevention measures becomes paramount. Xcel Energy’s utilization of cutting-edge technology, such as drones and helicopters for power line inspections, complements the proactive approach to wildfire management.

The installation of 21 camera systems by Pano AI in high-risk wildfire zones underscores Xcel’s commitment to preemptive fire mitigation strategies. These strategically positioned cameras, rotating 360 degrees for comprehensive surveillance, enhance early detection capabilities.

Under a five-year agreement with PanoAI, Xcel is investing in advanced technology to bolster its firefighting infrastructure. While exploring potential federal funding avenues, Xcel plans to recoup the investment through electronic rate adjustments, aligning with its approach to infrastructure development.

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Last modified: December 25, 2023
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