Mayor Eric Garcetti took a powerful step forward this week in L.A.’s movement toward renewable energy, announcing that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will not repower three coastal natural-gas power plants. The decision to phase out the units — which together represent 38% of the city’s current natural gas portfolio — by 2029 will accelerate L.A.’s transition to 100% renewable energy and put the city on track to meet its carbon-neutral target of 2050.
“This is the beginning of the end of natural gas in Los Angeles,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The climate crisis demands that we move more quickly to end dependence on fossil fuel, and that’s what today is all about.”
The repowering of natural gas units at three major Once-Through-Cooling natural-gas plants — Scattergood, Haynes, and Harbor — had been previously planned by LADWP. Mayor Garcetti was joined in the announcement by Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Mike Bonin, Paul Krekorian and Paul Koretz, along with senior LADWP leadership.
“Science increasingly shows that the days of seeing gas as a bridge fuel are coming to an end,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action. “We need to accelerate the transition to clean energy, and L.A.’s commitment to helping to lead the way is an important sign of progress.”
In order to more quickly discover clean options to replace the power generated by the three plants, Mayor Garcetti directed LADWP to shift focus from its previous Strategic Long Term Resource Plan to the current 100% Renewable Energy Study — a $10 million, comprehensive analysis launched in 2017 with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to determine a feasible path to 100% clean energy.
“LADWP’s local generation and transmission system has served the City well for over a century,” said Mel Levine, LADWP Board President. “But it’s time to reimagine it and reconfigure so that, while we maintain reliability and affordability, we transition away from reliance on natural gas as quickly as possible. Climate change demands our vigilance and bold action.”
LADWP will also allocate financial resources to explore innovative alternatives — including public-private partnerships, new and upgraded transmission and distribution systems, microgrid technologies, and enhanced energy storage projects over the coming years.
The effort to phase out natural gas is the latest in a long list of ambitious actions taken by Mayor Garcetti to set Los Angeles on a path to carbon-neutrality. Under the Mayor Garcetti’s leadership, LADWP reduced greenhouse gas emissions to 47% below our 1990 emissions level at the end of 2017 — surpassing the state’s 2030 target a full 14 years ahead of the deadline.
“There is no more urgent goal to save the planet from climate catastrophe than weaning the world off fossil fuels, and here in Los Angeles, we are taking the tangible steps necessary to do exactly that,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian. “Because of the Council’s mandate, the DWP is working in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop the 100% clean energy roadmap that will be a model for the rest of the country and other cities around the world.”