New Geothermal Project Helps Create Clean Energy Future For Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (June 1, 2017) – In another step toward creating a clean energy future for Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has entered a new 26-year power sales agreement for renewable geothermal power that will provide enough clean energy to serve 208,000 Los Angeles homes and avoid producing 701,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, which is roughly equivalent to removing 135,000 gas-fueled cars off the road.

Approved by the City Council May 16, 2017 and signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti May 19, 2017, the agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) will provide Los Angeles with about 150 megawatts (MW) of clean, around-the-clock renewable energy from the Northern Nevada Geothermal Portfolio Project, which will be developed by ONGP LLC, a subsidiary company of Ormat Technologies, Inc. based in Reno, Nevada.

“I promised Angelenos we would kick L.A.’s dependence on coal, and projects like this are exactly how we’ll do it,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Washington may be burying its head in the sand — but by embracing geothermal energy and other renewables, we’re showing that cities can, and will, continue to lead the fight against climate change.”

“Unlike wind and solar, which only generate power when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, a geothermal plant produces energy continuously, so we can rely on it for base-load renewable power, 24/7,” LADWP General Manager David Wright said. “This makes it an ideal renewable energy as part of our replacement of coal and other fossil fuel generation.”

Under the agreement, LADWP will receive the full output of geothermal energy from the facility over 26 years. The project will encompass a portfolio of geothermal facilities that will be brought on line over three development periods. The first facility is expected to provide 24 MW of power by December 31, 2017, and subsequent development will bring the remainder in commercial operation by December 31, 2022.

In addition to producing fossil free power, geothermal energy offers many desirable benefits. Because it can provide continuous energy generation, a geothermal 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 resources. With its baseload predictability, geothermal energy also saves on transmission and other integration costs, as compared to variable renewables like wind and solar power.

LADWP has been steadily building a diverse renewable energy portfolio of wind, solar and base-load renewable power such as geothermal. LADWP has achieved an estimated 29 percent of its power sales from renewable energy so far in 2017, and anticipates supplying 38 percent renewable resources by 2020 and 55 percent by 2030. The geothermal energy purchased from the Northern Nevada Geothermal Portfolio Project will represent 5 percent of LADWP’s renewable energy goals.

“This agreement for geothermal power is key for LADWP to build a balanced renewable portfolio and help LADWP making the transition away from coal power while maintaining a reliable power supply for Los Angeles,” said Reiko Kerr, Senior Assistant General Manager – Power System Engineering, Planning, and Technical Services.