LADWP Moves to Accelerate Renewable Energy Goal

The Board of Water and Power Commissioners for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) took the first step this week toward increasing renewable energy sources to 20 percent of the City’s power mix by 2010 — seven years ahead of the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goal that was adopted by the Board and the City Council earlier this year.

Board President Mary E. Nichols asked LADWP management to begin meeting with neighborhood councils, homeowners, businesses and other stakeholders to discuss the accelerated RPS goals. The accelerated renewable energy plan, which was presented to the Board during a December 13 workshop, outlines how LADWP would further diversify its retail energy mix to meet the goal of 20 percent by 2010 by procuring renewable energy resources to own and/or purchase. The renewable resources will include a mix of wind, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, small hydroelectricity, and solar power. “This Board believes we must plan for a greener Los Angeles and that we can meet future energy needs with cleaner resources while continuing high standards of reliability and maintaining a competitive price,” said Nichols. “We are all concerned about potential requirements to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and about the wild fluctuations in natural gas prices. LADWP needs to be investing in renewable energy as a form of self protection as well as to benefit the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” “LADWP is prepared to move forward with an accelerated RPS,” said LADWP General Manager Ron Deaton. “We realize it is in the best interests of the ratepayers and the City to be proactive in terms of diversifying our energy resources by increasing the level of wind, geothermal, solar and other renewable energy sources.” To achieve the accelerated RPS goal by 2010, the Board directed management to provide the following during the first six months of the new year: — Update the 10-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to incorporate a 20 percent by 2010 RPS, develop a timeline to reduce emissions and increase efficiency of the older in-basin power plants, increase efficiency of customer energy use, and plan for expanding transmission facilities to transport the renewable energy to Los Angeles. — Proceed with the negotiation and contract development of renewable energy resources as proposed and selected in the LADWP’s 2004 request for proposals (RFP), and the 2005 RFP issued by the Southern California Public Power Association (SCPPA). — Prepare and submit for consideration a renewable energy surcharge to support the cost of accelerating the RPS and to maintain the financial integrity of LADWP’s Power System during times of natural gas price volatility. — Plan public meetings with stakeholders, such as neighborhood councils, homeowners, and commercial customers, to review and discuss the proposals beginning early next year. LADWP will need to procure an additional 3,500 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy by 2010 to meet the accelerated RPS goal as well as to sustain that level in the future. Currently, about 5.5 percent of LADWP’s energy mix comes from renewable resources, including landfill or digester gas, small hydro, solar, and short-term renewable power purchases. Among the projects already planned include a 120 MW wind farm that is expected to be operational by 2007. The Pine Tree Wind project will generate 340 gigawatt-hours and boost the level of renewable energy by about 1.4 percent. LADWP has a long-term contract for a biomass facility to supply 333 gigawatt-hours, or 1.4 percent of the RPS, through conversion of organic matter to energy. In addition, LADWP’s Solar Rooftop Program will generate an additional 24 gigawatt-hours per year by 2010. These will add about 697 gigawatt-hours when completed. LADWP anticipates that it will gain another 6.9 percent of renewable energy through proposals that were submitted in 2004. LADWP is negotiating with companies to acquire or develop approximately 1,694 gigawatt-hours (or 395 MW) of future renewable power. LADWP expects to receive an additional 5.4 percent, or 1,261 gigawatt-hours, by 2009 through the SCPPA RFP issued in August. On a long-term basis, LADWP also plans to develop geothermal power in the Imperial Valley through a partnership with the Imperial Valley Irrigation District. LADWP will build new transmission lines to access and then invest in developing the geothermal resources. Known as the Green Path Project, the geothermal project is still under development, and is expected provide a sustainable, long-term renewable energy supply for Los Angeles.
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