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LADWP Newsroom


DATE: October 4, 2012 3:55:00 PM PDT

LADWP Letterhead

Los Angeles Takes Major Step Toward Clean Energy Future as LADWP Board Approves New Solar Power Agreements

Creating Hundreds of Jobs and Providing Enough Clean, Renewable Energy to Power 283,000 Homes per Year, State of the Art Solar Arrays Move L.A. Forward to Meet Renewable Energy Goals

LOS ANGELES – With its approval today of two long-term solar power purchasing agreements, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) Board of Water and Power Commissioners moved decisively to meet Los Angeles’ renewable energy goals. The agreements are for 460 megawatts of clean solar power. Combined with a new LADWP-owned property that will support a 250 megawatt solar array planned in Kern County, CA , the three solar projects will provide enough green energy annually to serve approximately 283,000 Los Angeles households.  Through these projects, Los Angeles will take a major step in achieving its goals of 25% renewable power by 2016 and 33% by 2020.

The Board’s action continues the transformation of the city’s energy supply. Long reliant on coal power, the two agreements move LADWP further away from dependence on fossil fuels and toward cleaner, more sustainable and renewable energy sources.  In the next decade, LADWP will completely replace over 70% of its power supply to eliminate coal through a combination of increased energy efficiency, expanding renewable energy to 33% by 2020, completely eliminating the use of ocean water cooling at its three coastal power plants and balancing the new energy mix with cleaner and more efficient natural gas, all while maintaining system reliability.

“This is a defining moment for our City’s economic and environmental future. Not only will these commitments create hundreds of green jobs, they will further bolster Los Angeles as a national leader in making the successful, cost-efficient transition to renewable energy. If you want proof that environmental progress and economic growth go hand in hand, look no further than today’s decision, “ said Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa. “We are shaking our fossil fuel addiction."

"Through projects like this, the Department of Water and Power is on track to reduce its reliance on coal power and increase its supply of solar and other renewable energy," said Councilmember José Huizar, Chair of the City Council Energy and Environment Committee. "Altogether, these solar projects will prevent about 955,000 metric tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere each year. That is equivalent to removing 184,000 cars from the road annually. All Angelenos should take pride in knowing we are rebuilding our power system into a cleaner, greener and environmentally sustainable model."

The Board’s action approved a 25-year contract with K Road Moapa Solar, LLC (K Road) for up to 250 megawatts of power, representing about 706,650 megawatt-hours, enough energy to power about 118,000 Los Angeles households. LADWP will be the sole recipient of solar power from K Road, which will be located on Moapa Band of Paiute Indians tribal land north of Las Vegas. 

The second agreement approved by the Board is for 210 megawatts of power from the 250 megawatt Copper Mountain Solar 3 project being developed by an affiliate of Sempra U.S. Gas and Power and is located near Boulder City, Nevada.  It will provide enough power to serve 70,000 Los Angeles homes. Both projects are scheduled to be completed and will deliver solar power to Los Angeles by the end of 2016. LADWP has options to own both projects on the 10th year of operation and every five years after that for the life of the agreements.

“These solar projects will be among the largest solar arrays in the U.S. and demonstrate the city’s leadership in moving away from harmful coal power to support public health and the environment while meeting the state's strict renewable energy mandate," said City Councilmember Eric Garcetti, Chair of the Council Jobs and Business Development Committee.

“The K Road and Copper Mountain 3 projects, along with a proposed LADWP-owned property that will support a solar project in the California High Desert, will represent over 7% of the total renewable energy goal of 33% by 2020,” said LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols.  “These are among the largest solar projects of any public utility in the nation and a major step forward in our efforts to secure more renewable energy in a cost effective manner.”

In a concurrent effort, LADWP has moved to acquire a 2,500-acre site from Beacon Solar LLC to develop a 250-megawatt solar project adjacent to LADWP’s Pine Tree Wind Plant and its Barren Ridge Switching Station in Kern County.  Acquisition of the property was approved in September by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, permitting is complete and the project is currently in escrow and expected to close by the end of 2012.

“This project is a perfect opportunity for large-scale solar that will create hundreds of green jobs in California,” Nichols said. “It will be cost effective because we are using the existing Barren Ridge Switching Station and LADWP’s nearby transmission lines that are being upgraded as part of the Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project to bring the power home to L.A.”

The two agreements approved Thursday are the result of a competitive process initiated in January 2011 by SCPPA, a non-profit joint powers agency whose members include 11 municipal utilities in Southern California. Conforming to LADWP’s long-term power plan, the projects meet LADWP’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goals: access to LADWP-owned transmission facilities and land; diversity in terms of the type of resource and location; flexibility for future ownership; use of proven technologies; and regionally “clustered” to promote cost efficiency in operation and maintenance.  LADWP will purchase the solar power from both projects at a fixed price and a combined average of 9.4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).  

Through the agreement with K Road, power will be delivered to Los Angeles along existing LADWP-owned transmission from southern Nevada via the Crystal Substation, about 30 miles north of Las Vegas.  As part of the agreement, K Road will develop a short 5.5 mile transmission line from the project and the Crystal Substation that will be owned by LADWP.

The Copper Mountain agreement provides LADWP with the bulk of the power produced by the solar power plant – 210 megawatts – through an agreement with SCPPA. The City of Burbank will purchase the remaining 40 megawatts. Power will be delivered from the plant to Los Angeles through the existing Marketplace Substation and transmission lines, which are operated by LADWP.

The agreements now move to the City Council for its consideration and approval.


For more information contact:
Joseph Ramallo
Communications Director, LADWP
(213) 367-1361