When Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti announced his city’s Green New Deal in April — a plan that will accelerate its zero emissions and renewable energy goals — his words were welcomed by the Sierra Club and other climate activists. Now the city’s Department of Water and Power has presented a proposal that will help turn those words into reality.
If approved, the city will enter into a 25-year power purchase agreement for 400 MW AC/530 MW DC of solar electricity at a price of 1.997 cents per kWh — the lowest price yet for solar power in the US. Adding a 100 MW/200 MWh battery will cost an additional 1.3 cents per kWh. The project includes the option to add 50 MW/200 MWh of energy storage for 0.665 cents per kWh more.
The project, known as the Eland Solar & Storage Center, will be built in two 200 MW AC phases in Kern County north of the city and proud home of beautiful downtown Bakersfield. In the second phase, the size of the battery storage component may double. In an e-mail to PV Magazine, 8minute Solar says there is no price escalator clause that applies to the second phase of the project.
The battery storage can be used to meet the late afternoon, early evening surge in energy demand that occurs on a daily basis. There is a possibility it may also be used to meet some of the early morning increase in demand. Using stored electricity means there is no need to ramp up gas fired peaker plants, which is good news for the environment.
Representatives of LA Water and Power say they are drawing up plans for 7 other solar power plants to help meed the city’s needs for electricity in coming years. Construction of the first phase of the project is expected to begin in 2022 with a completion date set for the last day of 2023. When it is brought online, it is expect to supply 5% of the city’s renewable energy needs.