Mayor Eric Garcetti announced this week “the beginning of the end” of natural gas in Los Angeles with his directive that the Department of Water and Power not spend billions of dollars to repower three coastal natural gas power plants.
The Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor natural gas plants together represent 38 percent of the city’s current natural gas portfolio, and phasing them out by 2029 will accelerate L.A.’s transition to 100 percent renewable energy while putting the city on track to meet its carbon-neutral target of 2050, according to the mayor’s office.
“This is the beginning of the end of natural gas in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said. “The climate crisis demands that we move more quickly to end dependence on fossil fuel, and that’s what today is all about.”
In order to replace the power generated by the three plants, Garcetti said he directed the LADWP to shift focus from its previous Strategic Long Term Resource Plan to the current 100 percent Renewable Energy Study. The $10 million analysis was launched in 2017 with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to determine a feasible path to 100 percent clean energy.
“The commitments we make today, and moving forward, need to be part of a larger narrative. We will take on climate change head-on,” Councilwoman Nury Martinez said a news conference with Garcetti and other city leaders outside LADWP headquarters. “And we will do so with a strategy where the fight against climate change and the path to a clean energy future begins and ends in our frontline communities.”
Garcetti’s office said the LADWP will also allocate financial resources to explore energy alternatives, including public-private partnerships, new and upgraded transmission and distribution systems, microgrid technologies, and enhanced energy storage projects over the coming years.
Stuart Waldman, president of Valley Industry Commerce Association, was critical of the decision.
“This is a short-sighted and expensive experiment with the ratepayers’ money,” he said. “This will cost every ratepayer $3,571, which will undoubtedly require rate increases. Even worse, this decision was made without speaking to the ratepayer advocate, the DWP MOU Oversight Committee of Neighborhood Councils, or the LADWP 100% Renewables Advisory Committee which VICA spent more than a year working on. This plan ignores recommendations byLADWP experts and consultants hired to come up with a plan.”