Mayor Villaraigosa announced actions by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) that will eliminate Los Angeles’ reliance on coal power by no later than 2025. Vice President Al Gore, Chairman of Climate Reality Project, will visit Los Angeles Friday, March 22, 2013, to celebrate the milestone with Mayor Villaraigosa.
“The era of coal is over. Today we affirm our commitment to make Los Angeles a cleaner, greener, more sustainable city,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “By divesting from coal and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency, we reduce our carbon footprint and set a precedent for the national power market.”
Getting off coal power will reduce LADWP carbon emissions by 59 percent and citywide emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels. Los Angeles has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 28 percent below 1990 levels, which is more than any other major U.S. city and four times what the Kyoto Protocol requires.
As the largest municipal-owned utility in the nation, the LADWP is uniquely positioned to lead in clean energy. Since Villaraigosa took office, the utility has quadrupled its use of energy from renewable sources, piloted the largest big city solar feed-in-tariff program, and doubled investments in energy efficiency. However, the LADWP still receives 39 percent of its energy from two coal-fired power plants: the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) in Arizona and the Intermountain Power Project (IPP) in Utah.
The LADWP’s Board of Water and Power Commissioners today approved an amendment to its contract with IPP, transforming the power supply delivered to Southern California utilities from the plant to a smaller natural gas plant that complies with California emission standards. The smaller plant will allow the LADWP and the other local municipal customers to develop more renewable energy and bring it to Southern California along existing transmission lines, which already carry 400 megawatts of renewable energy to Los Angeles from Utah. The transition will begin no later than 2020 and be completed no later than 2025, two years ahead of schedule. The amendment is subject to approval by the Los Angeles City Council, will be considered by the other municipal purchasers, and is currently being ratified by the 23 Utah owners.
Representatives of LADWP and Salt River Project have reached sufficient progress on the principle terms to sell LADWP’s 21 percent stake in Navajo Generating Station for the two utilities to move forward to negotiate a definitive agreement that would end LA’s use of coal-fired power from the plant by the end of 2015. If a final agreement can be reached and approved by each party’s governing bodies, this will end LA’s role in NGS more than four years earlier than mandated by California state law. The NGS agreement is expected to be fully approved by both parties later this year, with consideration by the Los Angeles City Council thereafter.