ORIGINAL REPORTING: La-La Land Plans For 100% New Energy
The two key questions about going to 100% renewables in Los Angeles; Will it be solar or more solar in Hollywood? And can solar star without fossil fuel backup?
Herman K. Trabish, April 5, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: With California’s new state-wide commitment to 100% New Energy, the path for Los Angeles is expected to clear.
In 2016, the Los Angeles City Council asked the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to study the possibility of moving to a 100% renewables resource mix. For renewables, this could be what Hollywood calls a “marquee moment.” Many see in renewables the 'star' quality to run the 'show' on their own. Others worry that co-stars, in the form of backup fossil generation, will be needed into the 2040s if LADWP is to guarantee reliable electricity for its 1.5 million-plus customers. That's because if renewables get casted, LADWP faces a big challenge: Limits on regional transmission constrain LA’s renewables choices largely to solar and more solar. To answer the questions raised by the city council’s order, LADWP formed a high-powered advisory group that is winning rave reviews from renewables advocates. In the meantime, to create a “roadmap” to 100% renewables and help inform the debate, local advocacy group Food & Water Watch (FWW) commissioned “Clean Energy for Los Angeles” by Synapse Energy Economics.
The Synapse paper has been welcomed by advocates for a more rapid transition to 100% renewables. It found the city’s transition to 100% renewables by 2030 is “feasible” and “will be cheaper for LADWP ratepayers” than business as usual, according to FWW Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. Synapse also offers new co-stars for renewables. Instead of fossil fuels and hydropower delivered on costly new transmission, the co-stars can be energy efficiency, demand response and battery energy storage, Synapse says. Synapse associate and paper co-author Spencer Fields said the study has one very important takeaway. The biggest change for LADWP in the coming transition will not be its resource mix. It is already more than 30% renewables and quickly adding more to meet its clean energy mandates. The biggest change in moving to 100% by 2030 will be how the utility operates its system… click here for more