Even in progressive California, Los Angeles stands out with its bold plans to decarbonize its power sector. The city’s municipal utility, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), is the United States’ largest publicly owned utility. LADWP is fully embracing energy storage as critical tool for achieving the clean and affordable energy goals set forth by the sprawling City of Angels.
LADWP is already very familiar with the benefits of energy storage. It operates a 20 MW lithium-ion battery storage system at its Beacon Solar Plant as well as a 1,500 MW pumped hydro facility at Lake Castaic. In February 2019, LADWP announced it will not be replacing three once-through cooling gas-fired power plants scheduled to close by 2029. Instead, the utility will employ clean-energy alternatives such as solar and energy storage to make up for their 1,660 MWs of generation capacity. In July, LADWP proposed building the largest capacity utility-scale solar battery project in the country to date. The plan, submitted by developer 8minute Solar Energy, would build as much as 400 MWs of solar capacity and 300 MWs of energy storage at the historically low price of $19.97 per MWh. As of early August, approval is pending at the LADWP board.
These moves are aligned with the city’s Green New Deal, which lays out ambitious sustainability targets and devotes billions of dollars for new infrastructure. The plan calls for increasing cumulative energy storage to as much 4,000 MWs by 2050 – far larger than the current target for the entire state of California (1,500 MW). Driving all that energy storage demand is the City’s goal to supply 55 percent of the city’s electricity needs with renewable energy within six years and 100 percent by 2045. In 2017, 29 percent of the city’s electricity came from renewable sources while 18 percent of the city’s power was still generated from coal. Hear from General Manager of LADWP at Energy Storage North America (ESNA) in San Diego on November 6, 2019 at the evening keynote. LADWP is the Platinum Utility Sponsor of ESNA 2019.