Inspired by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s recent decision to scrap plans to rebuild three gas power plants, Food & Water Watch and our partners are calling on the mayor and the City Council to go further, by moving Los Angeles to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is currently studying a transition to renewable energy by 2045, but environmental advocates and community members — recognizing the urgency of climate change — demand a 2030 deadline, along with a fair and just transition for workers and communities. Food & Water Watch and community leaders recently launched our campaign for 100% renewable energy in a press conference and rally on the steps of L.A. City Hall on a recent sunny morning.
“We stood with Mayor Garcetti when he announced his decision to scrap the rebuilding of LADWP’s in-basin gas plants, and we will be there when the mayor and the city start implementing a fair and just transition to 100 percent renewable energy,” said Jasmin Vargas, Senior Organizer with Food & Water Watch. “We must guarantee that displaced oil and gas workers and members of communities hardest hit by pollution get priority when creating new, clean energy jobs.”
Advocates were joined at City Hall by Councilmember Mike Bonin, a longtime champion of renewable energy. Bonin has backed efforts to shut down the Playa del Rey gas storage facility in his district and he’d like to see all of Los Angeles powered by renewable energy. He described the shift to clean power as “putting the Green New Deal into action” for Los Angeles.
“By rapidly transitioning to truly clean and renewable energy resources, we can end the use of dirty and dangerous fossil fuels, as well as create good jobs, a thriving economy, and a more equitable society, Bonin said. “I am very proud to stand with activists and climate revolutionaries from throughout L.A. to work for a better future.”
The fight for 100 percent renewable energy
The recent decision by Garcetti to abandon plans to refurbish three coastal gas-fired power plants comes after years of campaigning by Food & Water Watch and other clean power advocates. In 2016, the Los Angeles City Council passed a motion requiring LADWP to study a 100 percent renewable energy future. In early 2018, Food & Water Watch released a study by Synapse Energy Economics showing that Los Angeles could stop rebuilding aging gas plants and transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, for less money than continuing to rely on fossil fuels. The study recommended that LADWP invest in energy efficiency, demand response, battery storage and local solar installations.
Current proposals under consideration by LADWP include various timelines and energy mixes. Food & Water Watch opposes any scenario that would continue to burn fossil fuels or rely on dangerous nuclear energy, dirty biomass, biogas or renewable energy credits (RECs) to meet renewable energy goals.
Writing the rules for a fair and just transition
Food & Water Watch will work with community groups to elaborate the specifics of a fair and just transition off fossil fuels. It is not enough to say we want to prioritize members of affected communities and the current fossil fuel workforce for good green jobs. We need a highly detailed roadmap of how this will work. Our goal is to bring the process of moving L. A. off fossil fuels into the community, and we will invite LADWP officials, renewable energy experts and community leaders to a series of hearings this summer and fall.
While we welcome Mayor Garcetti’s “beginning of the end of natural gas” in L.A., we know that it will take persistent community pressure, detailed planning and lots of hard work to get there. If California’s largest city can move off fossil fuels, the rest of the state—and the country—can follow.
If you live in LA, take action here!