L.A. Consequential

A record renewable energy proposal would have major ramifications for the city

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the nation’s largest utility provider, is pushing for an unprecedented proposal that would combine solar power and energy storage for the city’s utilities. The project would deploy 400 MW of solar energy at 1.997 cents per kWh and store 800 MWh at 1.3 cents per kWh, both of which would set new records for capacity and price.

Specifics to the proposal were presented during a June 18 special meeting of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, part of the LADWP. That meeting was called in an effort to preview a planned July 23 submission for approval that many believe is an indicator for the project to move forward.

Approval of the large-scale renewable energy project would be a major step for both solar and storage, as well as a sign of progress for the adoption of large-scale combined methods by major service areas. Los Angeles, the second biggest city in the United States, has a population of roughly 4 million, give or take its famous “sprawl”. LADWP serves the entire city limits, as well as parts of the communities of Bishop, Culver City, South Pasadena, and West Hollywood. It serves roughly 3.8 million residents over a 465-square mile service area and has a workforce of 8,800 employees. About 679,000 of those are active water service connections, with 1.4 million power customers. The rest are commercial customers.

Additionally, the combined utility is at the forefront of companies aiming to transition to renewable energy sources. LADWP stated in 2017 a goal of generating 100% of its power from carbon-free resources by 2050, five years after California’s mandate for its investor-owned utilities to reach 100% clean energy. The project will make up approximately 5% of the capacity necessary to meet that goal, according to the municipal utility.

8Minute Energy, the solar provider spearheading the project, would beat its own record for pricing if the deal goes through. It had previously achieved a record of 2.67 cents per kWh on a project in Nevada.


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