Intermountain Power Service Corp. (IPSC) has signed a contract with Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems for a natural gas turbine system to replace the coal-fired plant at Delta, UT, operated  by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).

After a transition period starting in 2025 running the Intermountain Power Plant (IPP) on a combination of hydrogen (30%) and natural gas (70%), renewable hydrogen would be phased in until it operates on the 100% carbon-free fuel in 2045, officials said.

IPSC would own the hydrogen power plant and LADWP would operate it. Output would go to public power customers in Utah, as well as LADWP and other municipalities in California via a 488-mile transmission line owned by the city utility.

“Our goal for IPP is to transition to 100% renewable power no later than 2045,” said LADWP’s Martin Adams, general manager. “The renewed generation facility will provide renewable power capacity when we need it, and will also provide critical spinning inertia to maintain the reliability” of LADWP’s transmission line. “We believe renewable hydrogen is an essential technology for LADWP to achieve a 100% renewable power grid.”

In recent years, LADWP and IPSC have been pursuing plans for a similar 845 MW plant fueled by natural gas only. However, those plans have been criticized by environmental groups.

With the planned closure in 2025 of the coal-fired units at Intermountain, LADWP would have no coal-fired generation in its portfolio and fewer gas-fired plants because of planned closures of several Los Angeles Basin facilities that use sea water cooling.

The plans at Intermountain are supported by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti because the closing out of coal fired power fits with a goal to make the city totally dependent on renewable sources of electricity. Last year the city announced it planned to stop using gas.

IPP General Manager Dan Eldredge, who is interested in keeping the power plant operating but making it a net-zero carbon energy resource, said the Utah site and existing regional infrastructure provide an ideal opportunity.