The Biden administration and Los Angeles (LA) Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday said a federal study confirmed the city’s municipal utility could achieve 100% renewable power by 2045.
Four years in the making, the LA 100% Renewable Energy Study, aka LA100, is an engineering-economic analysis overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Researchers studied the potential for the LA Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
The LADWP now has “the tools and the roadmap to continue on the path to 100% renewables, and we plan to start right away by outlining a set of next steps,” said utility general manager Marty Adams.
NREL said most decarbonization studies underscore that “other cities across the nation can get started now” through renewable procurement, permitting, siting and workforce training as they work through longer-term options for the “final 10-20% of the renewable solution.”
Garcetti said LA would not wait for others to develop solutions as LADWP owns and operates its generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. Garcetti supports a push to phase out the use of natural gas-fired generation in the city. Among other things, LA is involved in helping to transform a coal-fired power plant in Delta, UT, into a combination hydrogen-natural gas generation facility.
There are scant references in the NREL report to natural gas, with more references to solar, wind, hydrogen, and storage.
“Across all the LA100 scenarios…wind and solar generation account for the majority of total energy generation in 2045,” the NREL report noted. “The rest of the energy needs come from a variety of sources,” including nuclear, hydropower, geothermal, renewably fueled combustion turbines, and natural gas-fueled generation…Energy storage — in the form of batteries, pumped hydro, and long-duration hydrogen-based storage — also play a substantial role by shifting surplus energy to times of energy deficit.”
The one gas-fired generation scenario relies on renewables for 87% of power supplies. However, the system also “relies heavily” on the gas generation fleet to provide reliable service during periods of high demand and low renewable output.
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