Los Angeles to be coal-free by 2025, declares Mayor

Los Angeles Basin ©cameron23

Los Angeles Basin ©cameron23

Los Angeles has declared its intention to phase out all coal-fired power by 2025. “The era of coal is over. Today we affirm our commitment to make Los Angeles a cleaner, greener, more sustainable city,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday. LA is one of the largest cities in the United States and the municipal utility serves the third largest customer base in the country.

Los Angeles is making a strong statement in abandoning coal power. This move would make L.A. the largest coal-free city in the US. Coal currently accounts for 39% of L.A.’s current base load power. In 2010, L.A. achieved 25% renewable power.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) announced earlier this week that it will be divesting from two coal power plants. LADWP will be selling its 21% share in the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona. Two-thirds of the city’s power demand is met by the Intermountain Power Project (IPP) in Utah. Due to contract obligations, the utility cannot walk away from IPP but has reached an agreement to buy power transmitted from a natural gas-fired plant instead of the original coal-fired plant.

Officials estimate this move will be completed by 2025. That’s two years earlier than the deadline imposed by the State of California that the utility must be coal-free by 2027.

According to official data, CO2 emissions from the LADWP are 21% below 1990 levels, .

Despite LADWP’s announcement to “make unprecedented investments in renewable energy”, however, the coal-free future envisioned by the municipality is somewhat underwhelming in its ambition to reach only 36% renewable power (including hydro) by an unspecified date in the “future”. The same vision shows a planned share of 47% from natural gas.

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

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