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PG&E hosts 1st-ever Innovation Pitch Fest to solicit new technologies to bury power lines

ByLeslie Brinkley

Wednesday, September 13, 2023 12:54AM

PG&E hosts Pitch Fest to solicit new technologies to bury power lines

SAN RAMON, Calif. (KGO) — PG&E is shopping this week for new technology that could speed up the process of burying power lines underground. Their first-ever Innovation Pitch Fest in San Ramon even included a company that was featured on Shark Tank.

There are 25,000 miles of above ground power lines in Northern California. PG&E wants to bury 10,000 miles of them in the next decade with the focus on fire threat areas. But it’s a notoriously slow and expensive process so PG&E heard pitches Tuesday from nine companies with inventions that could speed it up.

It’s the utility’s first Innovation Pitch Fest on the heels of a summer innovation summit. Six-hundred contenders were whittled down to this week’s 54 finalists.

MORE: PG&E, Elon Musk brainstorm ways to meet growing electricity needs

PG&E said the big advantage to having the lines underground is to make the system more reliable so there is less potential for weather-related events and outages.

PG&E hopes to bury 350 miles of cable by the end of this year. Right now, they’re digging in San Mateo and Woodside and in Concord along Kirker Pass Road.

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