LA scraps plan to rebuild 3 gas plants, moves towards 100% renewable energy
- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday said the city would abandon plans to rebuild three coastal gas-fired power plants, and instead will focus on energy storage and other clean energy technology as it pursues a 100% renewables goal.
- Garcetti said his office concluded the city's Department of Water and Power (LADWP) could maintain reliability if the 326 MW Scattergood gas plant is retired by 2024 and two other plants totaling 799 MW of capacity are mothballed five years later, according to The Los Angeles Times.
- The decision marks the end of a multi-year debate over the city's plan to invest $2.2 billion in gas-fired power plants, and follows a decision by state lawmakers last year to pursue a 100% clean energy target by 2045.
California has looked to energy storage and renewables as a replacement for some gas-fired power plants, and Garcetti's decision builds on that trend.
Last year, the California Public Utilities Commission approved several energy storage projects for Pacific Gas & Electric to replace retiring gas generators. While there had been debate in the LADWP over the need for gas plants, Garcetti said reliability can be maintained with continued investment in other technologies.
"It's the right thing to do for our health. It's the right thing to do for our Earth. It's the right thing to do for our economy," Garcetti said. "And now is the time to start the beginning of the end of natural gas."
Food & Water Watch, an organization that campaigned against the city maintaining the gas plants, hailed the decision as an example of the Green New Deal movement. "We are hopeful that this is a first step to swiftly transition L.A. off fossil fuels and move the city to 100% renewable energy by 2030," Alexandra Nagy, a senior organizer with the group, said in a statement.
Last March, the group released a study by Synapse Energy Economics which it says demonstrated that LADWP could transition to all renewable energy in about a decade.
A formal announcement of the mayor's decision is expected today. In addition to the retirement of Scattergood in five years, the decision also allows for shutting down the 724 MW Haynes and 75 MW Harbor gas plants by 2029.
This post has been updated to include annual capacity factors for the three gas plants.
Follow Robert Walton on Twitter