Remarks by Mel Levine, President, Board of Water and Power Commissioners

Press Conference with Mayor Eric Garcetti Regarding LADWP’s Coastal Power Plants

February 12, 2019

Mayor Eric Garcetti has provided bold leadership for Los Angeles.  Today is no exception. Mayor, we accept your challenge and we are fully committed to continuing on the path to 100% clean energy for LA, and the phasing out of natural gas as a fuel source for our power system.

This Department and its very talented staff have been successfully transforming our City’s power supply to one that is cleaner and much, much greener.  We have also been reconfiguring how that power travels across the grid regionally and locally by building and upgrading the transmission lines that deliver power to the millions of businesses and homes who rely on it 24/7.  And we are transforming our system while keeping it reliable, sustainable and affordable.

It isn’t always appreciated, but much like LA’s historic water system, designed by William Mulholland, LA’s power system was designed and built over 100 years ago. That system includes facilities built for a different time that have been used to meet our current challenges. Castaic Power Plant, originally built to help hedge against energy prices and to ensure reliability, now also serves as one of the largest energy storage facility in the Western US.  The Department was instrumental in the building of Hoover Dam and its vast transmission system, which has the potential to store energy and deliver renewable power for LA and other parts of California into the next century.

LA’s local generation and transmission system was built in a different time and has also served the City well – our customers have some of the lowest cost and most reliable power in Southern California.  But it’s time to reimagine it and reconfigure it so that while we maintain reliability and affordability, we transition away from reliance on natural gas as quickly as possible. Climate change demands our vigilance – and bold action.

For quite some time, but especially over the past weeks, we have had very positive discussions with our staff and labor, the Mayor’s Office and councilmembers and we believe there is a path to creating an even greener grid locally. The work will not be easy, but we believe that our engineers, planners and operators are up to the task.  We will need to work closely with Council offices to site clean repowering and energy storage facilities and make additional major upgrades to our local transmission system, and work collaboratively with labor and state regulators to achieve this ambitious goal. We will push the envelope as aggressively as possible – and we will do so while remaining committed to the reliability we have provided and our customers demand.

Congratulations Mayor Garcetti on another critically important initiative. We are looking forward to working with you to achieve it.

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