The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has signed a groundbreaking 25-year power purchase agreement with 8Minute Solar. The deal will make possible the largest municipal solar plus storage facility in the US. But the best part is the combined price for solar energy plus storage is just 3.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, the lowest ever in the US and cheaper than electricity from a natural gas powered generating plant.
The electricity will come from a massive solar power plant located on 2000 acres of undeveloped desert in Kern County, just 70 miles from the city. Known as the Eland Solar and Storage Center, it will be built in two stages of 200 MW each, with the first coming online in 2022 and the second phase scheduled to be switched on the following year.
Los Angeles DWP will take 375 MWac of solar power coupled with 385.5 MW/1,150 MWh of energy storage, according to PV Magazine. Neighboring Glendale Water and Power will take 25 MWac of solar plus 12.5 MW/50 MWh of energy. The electricity from Eland I and II is expected to meet between 6 and 7% of Los Angeles’ needs, according to PV Magazine.
The Eland Solar & Storage Center has been engineered by 8minute to provide fully dispatchable power under control of the LA DWP to meet its customers’ demands with reliable and cost-effective power — a capability previously reserved for large fossil fuel power plants. Eland’s ability to provide fully dispatchable power for less than the traditional cost of fossil fuels effectively positions solar PV as an attractive candidate to be the primary source of California’s 100% clean energy future.
In case you didn’t know, the company takes its name from the amount of time it takes the sun’s rays to reach the Earth at the speed of light. In an e-mail to CleanTechnica, Jeff McKay, VP of marketing for the company, says, “Today was a big win for the city of Los Angeles, the people of California and the renewable energy industry as well.
“The project offers a glimpse of the future, with zero carbon sources providing energy cheaper than fossil fuels to households throughout Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley — at the lowest combined solar and storage prices on record. While further final regulatory approval is still needed, today was a big step in ensuring this project becomes a reality, and we feel very strongly that this project is a win-win for everyone involved.”
The Rest Of The Story
The Eland PPA was supposed to close a few months ago, but the IBEW local that represents the workers at the city-operated natural gas power plants complained their needs were not being addressed properly. It now appears those concerns have been addressed, according to the LA Times.
If the transition to renewable energy is to take place in an orderly and expeditious fashion, it is vital that the needs of workers in legacy industries not be ignored and that positive steps are taken to protect the interests of those who will feel the economic impact of the changes coming for the utility industry.
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