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“Umatilla Electric Cooperative (UEC) has some of the most diverse climates across our service territory. We have desert, farmland, urban, rural, industrial, mountain, grassland, and the list goes on. Each one of those environments require a different set of features."
UEC is an electric utility company that serves a large portion of the Columbia Basin and Blue Mountain country in Northeastern Oregon. Electric System Engineer Ryan Young recently gave us some insight to how they use weather data from an Orion Weather Station for vital decision-making at the utility.
“Having a heated weather head is very important in the mountain areas where we get sub-zero temperatures and lots of snow and ice throughout the winter.
“We also get high winds throughout our service territory and on rare occasions peaking at up to 85 miles per hour. Having an electronic based anemometer helps in this regard as we don’t have to rely on a mechanical meter that could get worn out and fail due to the higher stresses imposed by the environment.”
Weather Data Vital in Wildfire Mitigation and Decision-Making
“A big push for utilities in the Pacific Northwest is to attempt to prevent wildfires within their respective service territories. UEC has invested a ton of effort to support this big push, and ultimately stay ahead of it. We installed the Orion at a piece of downline equipment in our more high-risk area, and have the information it provides returned to our system control room.”
Humidity and temperature are necessary values, Ryan noted. “These values are used in a vital decision making process on whether UEC would need to perform a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), the practice of preemptively taking power lines out of service to prevent a large scale wildfire from sweeping through our system.
“This information is being used as another data point that goes into the decision of how we react to adverse weather conditions in the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter. Instead of solely relying on other agencies to provide that information, we took the initiative to gather that information on our own.”
The Right Fit
“We chose Columbia Weather Stations for a few reasons. We pride ourselves in the fact that we always try to support local businesses, which you guys are fairly local to us. We needed a weather station with the right communications protocol to integrate with our control scheme, which yours did. We also wanted features that would harden it against the adverse weather conditions we were going to put it in, like snow, ice and wind. Features like an ultrasonic anemometer that can handle high wind speeds without being harmed, and a heated weather head to handle the snow and ice. Lastly, we wanted to get the right set of measurements to support initiatives within UEC, such as our Wildfire Mitigation Plan.
"So far we are quite pleased with the Orion. Set up was fairly easy.”
The Orion™ Weather Station offers multiple parameter configurations with the convenience of an all-in-one sensor module with no moving parts. Visit the links below for additional information.
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