Red Cloud Wind Project Moves L.A. Toward 100% Clean Energy
LOS ANGELES (January 11, 2022)— The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has moved closer toward becoming 100% carbon free by 2035 with the completion of the largest, most efficient and lowest cost wind farm in LADWP’s renewable energy portfolio to date.
The Red Cloud Wind Project, located about 85 miles southeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico, began commercial operation December 22, 2021, generating up to 350 megawatts (MW) of new wind power. That amount of clean energy is expected to serve about 222,300 Los Angeles homes and save 464,040 metric tons of carbon emissions annually — the equivalent of removing nearly 100,000 gas-fueled cars from the road per year.
“If we’re going to make this decade one of exponential climate action, we need more than just bold goals and lofty long-term promises — we need real solutions and results in our communities today,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Bringing this state-of-the-art facility online makes it our largest wind project to date — providing clean energy for hundreds of thousands of Angelenos and powering our progress toward a more sustainable future.”
Based on the findings of the unprecedented Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (LA100 study) in March 2021, Mayor Garcetti announced the city’s accelerated renewable and decarbonization goal of 100% carbon-free energy by 2035 and interim goals of 80% renewable energy and 97% carbon-free by 2030.
“The commercial operation of Red Cloud marks a major milestone toward transforming our city’s power supply to 100% clean energy, greening our grid and further reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Cynthia McClain-Hill, President of the LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners. “Innovative and ambitious projects like this one, along with local clean energy programs for all of our customers are what will keep LA on track to not only achieve our renewable energy goals, but to do so equitably.”
LADWP is currently working with community-based environmental justice organizations to achieve a just and equitable transition to L.A.’s 100% clean energy future through the LA100 Equity Strategies initiative. The two-year community-driven comprehensive and inclusive initiative aims to develop clean energy programs and policies that will directly benefit L.A.’s energy burdened communities. Customer-focused programs providing energy efficiency, rooftop solar, electric vehicle adoption, demand response and other clean energy strategies will complement larger utility-scale renewable projects, such as Red Cloud. At the same time, they will help mitigate environmental burdens and electricity costs for neighborhoods most impacted across Los Angeles.
Spanning 39,900 acres of rural New Mexico, Red Cloud consists of 124, General Electric 2.82 MW turbines. The highly efficient wind farm is expected to boost LADWP’s renewable energy portfolio by 6% toward achieving L.A.’s renewable and decarbonization goals, pushing LADWP’s renewable energy portfolio to more than 40% projected for 2022.
“Red Cloud Wind Project is an excellent opportunity to diversify our renewable portfolio with a high-capacity wind power project that taps into one of the richest wind regions in the country,” said LADWP General Manager and Chief Engineer Martin Adams. “With the combination of ideal wind conditions and the latest high-efficiency turbines, Red Cloud will provide the city with reliable renewable energy that has the highest capacity of any wind project in our power system, which means customers get much more bang for the buck.”
The wind power generated by Red Cloud will complement LADWP’s growing solar portfolio, since wind power typically delivers power around the clock while solar stops generating when the sun goes down. “Red Cloud’s efficient and powerful wind generation will help meet customer demand during the crucial early evening hours when demand is high, but otherwise available renewable energy supply is typically low,” said Reiko Kerr, Senior Assistant General Manager for Power System Engineering and Technical Services.
Other benefits of Red Cloud include using LADWP’s existing transmission rights that previously transmitted energy generated by coal, and providing low-cost renewable energy due to federal tax incentives. Red Cloud was able to qualify for the full Production Tax Credits, which translates to a low and competitive energy price.
The wind farm is being developed by Pattern Energy Group LP through an agreement administered by the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA), which is responsible for selling the energy to LADWP. Red Cloud was selected out of 105 proposals submitted to SCPPA.
“Red Cloud is now up and running and delivering clean power to the people of Los Angeles through this extraordinary partnership with LADWP,” said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy. “Red Cloud achieves 6% of LADWP’s goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2035. As a California company we are proud to be a part of the City’s clean energy future for decades to come.”
Power from Red Cloud is conveyed to Los Angeles via LADWP’s existing transmission rights and assets related to the Navajo Generating Station, a decommissioned coal plant near Page, Arizona. The renewable energy travels along transmission systems operated by Public Service Company of New Mexico, Tucson Electric Power and Arizona Public Power Service. In Arizona, the energy connects to the Navajo 500 kV Switching Station, which ties into the transmission arteries connecting to the Los Angeles basin.