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  • Writer's pictureAmit Kukreja

How Palantir Powered the Future of California's Electrical Grid

In January 2021, Palantir announced its partnership with California's largest investor-owned utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). Palantir is providing PG&E with technology that will streamline data management and improve the safety and reliability of its electrical operations and asset management systems.

PG&E is deploying Palantir's Foundry software, which provides a centralized hub for decision-makers to access real-time data and gain a complete operational picture. The software allows for effective, timely data-driven decision-making in relationship to PG&E's public safety power shutoff program and its wildfire risk mitigation programs and initiatives.

The partnership marks the first time Palantir's software is being used by a major US utilities operation. The multi-year, multi-million dollar contract highlights Palantir's commitment to increasing safety and reliability for customers and communities across the region. The Foundry software will provide power to data-driven decisions that aim to improve service delivery, which is essential for the smooth running of California's electric grid.

Palantir's Foundry software enables the integration of data sets and provides real-time information to make sense of its data, which is crucial in the event of severe weather or natural disasters. The software allows for effective communication to affected areas, creating a timeline that can immediately get the power back online in the most safe and predictable ways.

The use of Palantir's software in its early stages of deployment has already enabled PG&E to make effective, timely data-driven decisions in relationship to its public safety power shutoff program, with the goal of restoring affected communities within 24 to 48 hours of the power passing.

The use of Palantir's Foundry software by PG&E is aimed at streamlining data management across the utility company. This is crucial in enhancing the reliability of the electrical grid by identifying and mitigating risks in real-time. With PG&E operating in California, a state known for its frequent wildfires, the ability to quickly respond to potential risks can help mitigate loss of life and property.

The software also enables PG&E to better manage its assets, including the electrical system, through real-time monitoring and management. This, in turn, leads to a more efficient operation of the grid, reducing downtime and increasing the reliability of the electrical system. Given the critical role electricity plays in daily life, from powering homes and businesses to supporting infrastructure, a reliable electrical grid is essential.

Additionally, the software enables PG&E to better manage its public safety power shutoff program. This program is aimed at preventing wildfire-related damages by turning off power in high-risk areas during periods of extreme fire danger. The program relies on accurate and up-to-date data to determine the areas at risk and the timing of the shutoff. Palantir's software helps to provide the real-time data necessary to make these decisions, making the program more effective.

Furthermore, Palantir's software provides PG&E with the ability to make data-driven decisions to improve service delivery. By integrating data from all aspects of the company's operations, the software enables enterprise analytics and process improvement across the entire industry. This is an important capability, given the complexity of the electrical grid and the need to constantly monitor and manage it.

Lastly, the partnership between PG&E and Palantir highlights the value of data in the energy industry. With more data being generated than ever before, companies that can effectively harness this data will have a significant advantage over their competitors. By leveraging Palantir's software, PG&E can manage its operations more efficiently, reduce risk, and improve service delivery. This, in turn, will enable the company to remain competitive in the ever-changing energy industry.

Palantir's plans for Foundry include expanding to inform asset risk and outage investigation, eventually bringing in data from all aspects of the company's operations to enable enterprise analytics and process improvement across the entire industry. As more use cases arise in the real world, Palantir's software will prove to be essential in streamlining decision-making processes, providing a centralized hub for all organizations and companies that need to understand their data better.

It is just the beginning of a long-term trajectory for Palantir and its potential for future growth in the industry, especially for managing more complex electric grid systems as the world begins to transition to more renewable energy and electric vehicles take up more market share.

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