Los Angeles—A groundbreaking report released today by Synapse Energy Economics and Food & Water Watch shows that with a combination of new wind and solar sources, investments in storage and energy efficiency and smart management of the grid, the Los Angeles Department of Power and Water (LADWP) can achieve a 100 percent clean energy system by the year 2030.
The research shows that the transition to an electricity grid fully powered by renewable energy can be accomplished quickly, without costing ratepayers more than they would otherwise pay.
“It is, in fact, possible to meet 100 percent of hourly energy needs in LA with renewable sources in 2030,” said report co-author Spencer Fields, an associate with Synapse Energy Economics. “We have outlined just two of several potential paths towards a clean energy future for Los Angeles. It is imperative that over the next few years the city and LADWP both take the easy early actions—such as investing more in energy efficiency and solar resources—as well as continuing to establish an appropriate plan of action to conquer the harder questions in the 2020s to complete the transition to an entirely renewable grid.”
While there are many paths to achieving 100 percent renewable energy, the study compares a status quo scenario with two possible options: One that relies more heavily on utility scale renewables, and one that relies more on distributed renewable energy sources, like rooftop solar.
Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said that Los Angeles can lead the country in the critical transition to renewable energy.
“The science shows we must immediately transition away from fossil fuels and cities like Los Angeles can and must lead the way in addressing the climate crisis,” says Hauter. “Los Angeles is poised to become a national model for a clean energy transition that brings meaningful reductions in emissions and new economic opportunities. We need our political leaders to have the courage to mandate clean energy. Will Los Angeles step up, or continue business as usual?”
The transition can also be affordable. A 100 percent renewable plan that relies more heavily on local distributed solar energy is actually cheaper than continuing to rely on fossil fuels.
The groundbreaking study comes as LADWP—the nation’s largest municipal utility serving almost 1.5 million residential customers and businesses—considers scenarios for moving Los Angeles to a 100 percent renewable energy grid, at the request of the City Council. However, LADWP does not anticipate coming out with its plan until mid-2020 while the city continues to invest in fossil fuels.
“This study shows that there is absolutely no reason for LADWP, Mayor Garcetti or the City Council to drag their feet,” said Alexandra Nagy, senior organizer with Food & Water Watch. “The city’s current plans to invest billions of dollars in new fossil fuel infrastructure, including gas fired power plants, must be nixed as L.A.’s leadership moves ratepayer dollars to the clean energy transition.”
The scenarios in the study define clean energy as wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower. The study models do not rely on credits purchased through California’s cap-and-trade program, unproven technologies like carbon capture or any other market-based schemes.
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
Synapse Energy Economics is a research and consulting firm specializing in energy, economic, and environmental topics. Since its inception in 1996, Synapse has grown to become a leader in providing rigorous analysis of the electric power and natural gas sectors for public interest and governmental clients.
Julie Light, 415-215-5737, [email protected]
Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467, [email protected]