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Los Angeles Nears Ending Use of 2 Coal Plants

Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has made significant progress on two contracts that would end the city’s use of coal-fired power from two power stations.

LADWP has reached “sufficient progress” on the principle terms of a planned sale of its stake in the Navajo Generating Station to the Salt River Project. If finalized, the deal would end LA’s use of coal fired power from that plant by 2015 more than four years earlier than mandated by California state law.

LADWP currently owns a 21 percent interest in the 2250 MW Navajo Generating Station, receiving 477 MW of coal-fired power from the plant.  Today, the board directed staff to develop the final transaction agreement, which is expected to be approved by both parties later this summer, with consideration by the Los Angeles City Council thereafter.

The LADWP’s Board of Water and Power Commissioners has also approved a contract that will enable the Department to completely transition out of coal power from the Intermountain Power Plant in Delta, Utah, by 2025 at the latest, with efforts to begin that transition no later than 2020.

Eliminating coal power from Intermountain Power Plant was more complex than negotiating the terms of sale of Navajo because, LADWP says, the Department does not own any part of that plant. LADWP is one of six Southern California municipal utilities that purchase coal power from the 1,800 MW IPP under a long-term power purchase agreement that expires in 2027. The plant is owned by 23 municipal utilities in Utah.

Under California law, SB 1368, electric utilities will not be allowed to import power into the state that exceeds a fossil fuel emissions cap after their current contracts expire. The emissions cap is set at the level of an efficient, combined cycle natural gas power plant.

The Board’s action today approves LADWP’s portion of the amendment to the long-term power sales agreement to stop taking coal power from IPP earlier than 2027 and build a smaller natural gas plant that complies with California emission standards.  LADWP and other Southern California municipal utilities will continue to receive renewable energy from Southern Utah from the Milford Wind project; with power delivered over the same transmission line that presently also delivers power from the Intermountain Power Project.

In February, the California Public Utilities Commission told Southern California Edison it must procure at least 50 MW of capacity in the Los Angeles basin from energy storage resources. The requirement is part of CPUC’s long-term procurement decision ordering Southern California Edison to procure between 1,400 and 1,800 MW of energy resource capacity in the Los Angeles basin to meet long-term local capacity requirements by 2021.

In October, the California Department of Water Resources entered into a four-year renewable power purchase agreement with Alameda Municipal Power that will provide 33 MW of certified renewable energy, with 28.3 MW from an existing geothermal project and 5.3 MW from landfill gas energy. Under the agreement, DWR will receive an estimated 183,000 MWh of annual generation.



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