NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Los Angeles Moves to Eliminate Reliance on Coal-Powered Energy

March 21, 2013

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) is moving forward with a plan to end the city's reliance on coal-powered energy.  Coal is close to 40 percent of all of the sources of energy for the city.  The two plants that provide the coal to the city include the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona and the Intermountain Power Project in Utah, says the Los Angeles Times.

The coal-free Los Angeles timeline:

  • 2015: potential end to energy delivery from the Arizona plant if the DWP negotiations to sell its share of the Navajo Generating Station are successful.
  • 2020: original date of achieving a coal-free city, a promise made by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
  • 2025: updated date of achieving a coal-free city, a promise made by Mayor Villaraigosa and the DWP.
  • 2027: state-imposed deadline that requires the Utah power plant to become coal-free when the contract with Utah's Intermountain Power Project is up.

The promise to have the city of Los Angeles coal-free by 2025 was declared a great of a victory for Mayor Villaraigosa, even though it does not meet his original promise to have the city coal-free by 2020.

Despite claiming that the plan would have an effect the equivalent of taking 2 million cars off the roads, the DWP has not released any information about the costs or specifics of the plan. The DWP estimated the cost of ending the contract with the power plant in Utah four years early or converting it to gas would cost $1 billion. A new power plant that would have the same capabilities would cost more than $11 billion.

Source: Kate Linthicum, "L.A. Moves to Eliminate Reliance on Coal-Powered Energy," Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2013.


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