Los Angeles Quadruples Clean Power to 20%, Cuts Carbon 22% Below 1990 Levels

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Hooray for Hollywood! one fifth of the electricity needed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) now comes from renewable energy. “When I became Mayor, I set a goal to generate 20% of the City’s power from renewable energy sources by 2010 and I am proud to say that we have achieved that goal”, said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

He has taken Los Angeles from only 5% renewable energy in 2005, when he took power, to 20% just 5 years later.

Wind power projects comprise about half the renewable power. Small hydro-electric projects contribute a third, geothermal projects 22%, solar: just 1%.

The utility serves a total of 1.4 million customers in Los Angeles, while there are over 9 million people in Los Angeles in total. The remainder get their electricity from the big state utilities that are themselves required to get 20% of their energy from renewables (excluding nuclear or hydro) by 2013.

What is remarkable about the rapid addition of the renewable power projects and the transmission necessary, was that it did not raise rates above state averages. Los Angeles used to get 39% of its electricity from an Arizona coal plant, power that it is replacing with clean power by 2014.

“We went from worst to first and quadrupled our renewable energy portfolio in a few short years while also keeping our rates lower than other major utilities” said the Mayor.

Electric rates for LADWP customers are indeed lower than the three main state utilities. At between 11 cents and 13 cents, their rates are still lower than the average for California. For example, PG&E customers pay an average of 19 cents or $100 a month, with its tiered rates.

By getting 20% of its power from renewable energy, and adding some efficiency measures, Los Angeles has reduced its carbon emissions to 22% below 1990 levels.

Think of that next time you watch a Hollywood extravaganza! See: that wasn’t so difficult, was it?

Image: Tom Lohdan
Susan Kraemer@Twitter

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