LADWP Achieves Agreement for Renewable Geothermal Power from Imperial County
Agreement Will Provide Renewable Energy for 47,600 homes and Reduce
|LOS ANGELES — In another step toward creating a clean energy future for Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will enter a decade-long power purchase agreement for renewable geothermal power that will provide enough clean energy to serve 47,600 Los Angeles homes and avoid producing 160,400 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, which is roughly equivalent to removing 30,900 cars off the road.
On August 28, the Los Angeles City Council approved LADWP’s power sales agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) for geothermal energy from the Heber-1 Geothermal Power Plant in Imperial County, Calif. LADWP will receive about 74%–averaging 34 megawatts (MW)–of the plant’s total generation capacity of 46 MW. The remainder will be purchased by the Imperial Irrigation District (IID).
“Unlike wind and solar, which are intermittent renewable resources that do not generate power continuously, a geothermal plant is constantly producing energy so we can rely on it for base-load power,” LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols said. “This makes it an ideal addition to our renewable energy portfolio as part of our replacement of coal power.”
The plant is expected to produce power at 95 percent or more of its capacity year-round – a higher capacity than the wind or solar renewable energy resource. Because of its predictability, geothermal also saves on transmission and other integration costs, as compared to variable renewables like wind and solar power.
LADWP has announced plans to stop receiving coal power by 2025, and replace it with a combination of renewable energy, energy efficiency measures, and efficient natural gas as a bridge fuel to provide reliability. As part of the major power supply transformation, LADWP will also completely eliminate the use of ocean water cooling at its three coastal power plants while rebuilding them to improve fuel efficiency, reliability and integration with renewable energy.
LADWP has been steadily building a diverse renewable energy portfolio of wind, solar and now geothermal power. LADWP achieved 20% renewables in 2010, ahead of most other utilities in the state. LADWP is on track to supply 25% of its energy from renewable resources by 2016, and 33% by 2020. The geothermal energy purchased from Heber-1 will represent 1.3% of LADWP’s renewable energy goals.
“This agreement for geothermal power is a key component of making the transition away from coal power while maintaining a reliable power supply for Los Angeles,” said Aram Benyamin, Senior Assistant General Manager – Power.
The agreement also includes provisions for delivering the renewable power to Los Angeles via the IID transmission system.