LADWP Achieves 25 Percent Renewable Energy Milestone
New Solar Plant on Tribal Land Facility Helped LADWP Reach Goal
LOS ANGELES (March 23, 2017) — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has achieved the state legislated goal of 25 percent of all energy retail sales coming from renewable energy, thanks to the completion of the 250-megawatt (MW) Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project and several other new large-scale solar facilities that began delivering clean power to Los Angeles by the end of 2016.
“We have reached this milestone because we are investing boldly to fight climate change, clean our air and build a more sustainable future for our city,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “There is much more work to do, and we will never stop working until we reach all of the ambitious renewable energy and emission reduction goals outlined in my administration’s Sustainable City pLAn.”
Councilmember Nury Martinez, Chair of the City Council Energy and Environment Committee, noted Los Angeles is leading the way on renewable energy. “I grew up in an environmental justice community and now represent these areas as a member of the City Council. I know first-hand the importance of these issues, not just for the consumer, but for the families that live near our power plants. In Los Angeles we’re committed to a clean energy future, and we’re well on our way,” Martinez said.
LADWP’s renewable energy level has increased to 25 percent from just 6 percent 10 years ago. “Reaching the 25 percent renewable energy target was accomplished by working collaboratively with city, environmental and community leaders, business and industry, and other stakeholders to create a workable vision for the City’s clean energy future,” said LADWP General Manager David H. Wright.
The utility is also on track to meet the next milestones of 33 percent of renewable energy sales by 2020, 55 percent by 2030 and 65 percent or more by 2036, and is studying the feasibility of going beyond that. “We are looking at what it would take in terms of resources, capability and costs to achieve 100 percent clean energy in the future,” Wright said.
The Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, built by First Solar, Inc. and located on the Moapa River Indian Reservation in Clark County, Nev., began sending solar power to Los Angeles residents and businesses in December 2016. The facility generates enough clean energy for nearly 111,000 Los Angeles homes, offsetting over 341,000 metric tons of carbon emissions from a traditional power plant. That amount of carbon emissions is equivalent to removing about 73,000 gasoline vehicles from the road for one year.
Moapa Southern Paiute Solar is one of several large-scale solar projects that either began operating in 2016 or will be commissioned this year, generating 660 MW of renewable energy. Along with the Moapa facility, these include three large solar plants in the Mojave Desert. In 2015, LADWP also began receiving its share of solar power—210 MW—from Copper Mountain 3 Solar Project near Boulder City, Nev., bringing the total amount of solar power coming to Los Angeles generated from outside the city to 870 MW.
Locally, over 192 MW of solar energy is generated by customer-owned solar rooftop or ground-mounted projects, while about 20 MW of local solar comes to the LA power grid via the Feed-in Tariff Program, through which LADWP purchases power produced by privately owned small-scale projects within the city. Since 2010, LADWP has been receiving 135 MW of wind power from its owned and operated Pine Tree Wind Farm, located in the Tehachapi Mountains. Altogether, LADWP has nearly 1,000 MW of wind power in its renewable portfolio from facilities in California, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, and Utah.
LADWP’s renewable portfolio is also diversified with about 150 MW of geothermal power, which helps stabilize the power grid because it generates power continuously. Another new
30 MW geothermal project in Imperial County is expected to begin deliveries later this year. In addition, LADWP’s small hydroelectric plants along the Los Angeles Aqueduct continue contributing to the renewable portfolio. With the heavy snowfall this season, the small hydro plants are expected to be running at high capacity beginning this spring.
On March 17, 2016, LADWP joined U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev.), U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Mastro (D-Nev.), Nevada state officials, the Moapa Band of Paiutes, First Solar, Inc., and other community and energy industry leaders to celebrate the commissioning of the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. Located approximately 30 miles north of Las Vegas, the facility is the first-ever utility-scale solar power plant to be built on tribal land, and provides solar energy to Los Angeles residents and businesses through a long-term power purchase agreement.
“The Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project was critical in achieving 25 percent renewable energy by 2016, and fulfilling LADWP’s goal to build a clean energy future for Los Angeles,” said Reiko Kerr, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of Power System Engineering, Planning, and Technical Studies. “Our Nevada projects have allowed us to stop receiving coal power from the Navajo Generating Station in 2016—four years ahead of the required deadline.”
Constructed and operated by First Solar, the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project features more than 3.2 million advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.