CARB awards Port of LA $41 million to launch zero-emissions freight project

The California Air Resources Board(CARB) has preliminarily awarded $41 million dollars to the Port of Los Angeles(POLA) for the Zero Emission and Near Zero-Emission Freight Facilities(ZANZEFF) project. The total project cost for this initial phase is $82,568,872, with partners providing 50.2%, or $41,446,612 in match funding.

The Zero and Near Zero-Emission Freight Facilities project — proposed with support from ToyotaKenworth, and Shell — provides a large-scale “shore to store” plan and a hydrogen fuel-cell-electric technology framework for freight facilities to structure operations for future goods movement. The initiative will help reduce emissions by 465 metric tons of Greenhouse Gas and 0.72 weighted tons of NOx, ROG and PM10.  The Zero-Emission and Near Zero-Emission Freight Facilities project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

“The Port of Los Angeles is showing the world that we don’t need to choose between environmental stewardship and economic growth — and this funding will help put zero emissions goods movement within our reach,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I am grateful to CARB for this investment in America’s Port, as we continue to lead the drive toward a more sustainable future.”

“This matching grant from CARB’s California Climate Investments program is critically needed funding support to develop and commercialize the next generation of clean port equipment and drayage truck, as well as the infrastructure to support it,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “This grant funds a public-private collaboration that is representative of our commitment to being a ‘market maker’ through collaborative technology and fuel infrastructure development with industry leaders like Toyota, Kenworth and Shell.”

The Port of Los Angeles, which has become the global maritime leader with respect to zero emission and near-zero emission technology, will develop the project in several phases, ultimately encompassing initiatives in Southern California, the Central Coast Area, and Merced County. The initial phase is designed to kick-start the leap to a new class of goods movement vehicles, while reducing emissions in designated disadvantaged communities.

The project phases will include:

  • Ten new zero-emissions hydrogen fuel-cell-electric Class 8 on-road trucks on the Kenworth T680 platform will be developed through a collaboration between Kenworth and Toyota to move cargo from the Los Angeles ports throughout the Los Angeles basin, as well as ultimately to inland locations such as Riverside County, the Port of Hueneme, and eventually to Merced. The trucks will be operated by Toyota Logistics Services (4), United Parcel Services (3), Total Transportation Services Inc. (2), and Southern Counties Express (1).
  • Two new large capacity heavy-duty hydrogen fueling stations will be developed by Shell in Wilmington and Ontario, CA. The new stations will join three additional stations located at Toyota facilities around Los Angeles to form an integrated, five-station heavy-duty hydrogen fueling network. Together, they will provide multiple sources of hydrogen throughout the region, including over 1 ton of 100% renewable hydrogen per day at the heavy-duty station to be operated by Shell enabling, zero-emissions freight transport. Stations supplied by Air Liquide at Toyota Logistics Services in Long Beach and Toyota Technical Center in Gardena will serve as important research and development locations.
  • Expanded use of zero-emissions technology in off-road and warehouse equipment, including the first two zero-emissions yard tractors to be operated at the Port of Hueneme, as well as the expanded use of zero-emissions forklifts at Toyota’s port warehouse.

“Toyota believes that zero-emissions fuel-cell-electric technology, and the scalability, throughput speed, and driving range advantages of its hydrogen fuel, has the potential to become the powertrain of the future – and the capabilities of fuel-cell-electric heavy trucks are a big reason why,” said Bob Carter, the Toyota Motor North America executive vice president. “We are proud to team with the Port of Los Angeles, Kenworth and Shell and the operating partners to explore the benefits of a true zero-emissions heavy-duty truck platform and to support the development of a heavy-duty hydrogen fueling network in California. These trucks add to our growing portfolio of fuel-cell-electric vehicles as we lead the industry in expanding electrification through the use of this advanced, versatile, and scalable zero-emissions technology.”

“This is an excellent opportunity for POLA, Kenworth and Toyota to work together to both explore and drive advanced zero emission technologies that will play a critical role in the clean trucks of the future,” said Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president.

“This award is another recognition that hydrogen is a promising zero-emission solution for the heavy duty transport sector,” said Matthew Tipper, Vice President New Fuels at Shell.  “We appreciate greatly the support from the Californian authorities and the opportunity to work with the Port of Los Angeles, Kenworth and Toyota in the deployment of a clean alternative fuel for California. The “Shore to Store” plan enables us to broaden our hydrogen offer to include heavy-duty transport.”

The “Shore to Store” project complements the extensive zero-emissions technology that is already under development for testing at Los Angeles terminals through partnership with the California Energy Commission. These investments showcase a clear, at-scale vision of the zero-emissions supply chain of the future and provide a model for a zero-emissions movement of goods.

Review and input on project implementation will be provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $284 billion in trade during 2017. San Pedro Bay port complex operations and commerce facilitate one in nine jobs in the five-county Southern California region.

 

CARB awards Port of LA $41 million to launch zero-emissions freight project, by Fleet Owner Staff, Fleet Owner, September 17, 2018.

Santa Monica Pushes Ahead To Meet Aggressive Infrastructure Sustainability Goals

Santa Monica currently requires all new residential and commercial construction to include rooftop solar systems. The Southern California coastal city of more than 92,000 people was the first city to require all new residential construction to be “zero-net” energy. Santa Monica has a water neutrality ordinance that caps water use for developments to the historical five-year average for the site. And the city is the first municipality to construct a super-sustainable Living Building.

The laws and programs, all since 2016, are part of the city’s ambitious three-part goal to achieve water self-sufficiency by 2020, zero waste production by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

The goals are outlined in the most recent update of the Santa Monica Sustainable City Plan, first adopted in 1994. “Santa Monica is always at the forefront,” says Rick Valte, the city engineer. “We hope what we do here is adopted by others.”

There is more. The city just finished its $13.5-million Clean Beaches Initiative (CBI), designed to improve beach water quality and drought resiliency. The project included construction of a subgrade stormwater storage tank to harvest runoff from the Santa Monica pier’s drainage basin, which covers 106 acres. The harvested runoff will then be diverted for treatment at the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (SMURRF) and distributed for nonpotable uses. Overflows from the tank will be discharged into the sanitary sewer system.

The CBI system will treat 150 million gallons of water each year. Valte is even more excited about the city’s Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project. SWIP consists of three elements. The first includes a modular reverse osmosis unit at SMURRF, a new shallow brackish and saline groundwater extraction well at the beach and new solar panels for energy offset. The second element includes a below-grade stormwater and sewer treatment facility at the civic center parking lot with a 1-million-gallon-per-day capacity. The third element consists of two new stormwater harvesting tanks at the city’s Memorial Park and the civic center lot, with a 4.5-million-gallon capacity.

The design phase for the nearly $70-million project is just beginning. Construction is expected to start next June. Completion is set for the fall of 2020.

On the renewable power supply side, Santa Monica has joined Los Angeles Community Choice Energy. LACCE, [Editor’s note: LACCE was renamed to Clean Power Alliance (CPA) earlier this year] which has more than 30 city and other members in Los Angeles County, is a way to achieve community-wide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation by providing competitively priced electricity from renewable sources to homes and businesses.

“This gives options to consumers to use 100% renewable energy,” says Kevin McKeown, a member of the city council and former mayor who has been charged with coordinating the program, which he calls “a launch pad” for renewable energy production.

In February, service is scheduled to start for residential customers. Service for nonresidential customers is scheduled to start next summer. And to meet growing demand, LACCE has plans to build a solar power plant.

The city’s sustainable plan is “not just a green city initiative,” says Shannon Parry, the city’s deputy sustainability officer. “We are looking at economic vitality, social equity and environmental protection.”

 

Santa Monica Pushes Ahead To Meet Aggressive Infrastructure Sustainability Goals, by Engineering News-Record Staff, Engineering News-Record, September 13, 2018.

To reduce wildfires, Edison seeks $582 million from ratepayers for improvements

In a sweeping effort to reduce the wildfire risk from electric power lines, Southern California Edison said Monday that it wants to spend $582 million for a series of improvements to its grid that likely would mean higher bills for ratepayers.

The utility giant’s actions underscore power companies’ growing concerns over their fire liability. In the last few years, the state has experienced its largest and most destructive blazes on record.

Another huge California utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, faces up to $15 billion in losses from last year’s wine country fires, which destroyed more than 8,000 homes and killed more than 40 people. Residents have blamed downed power lines for the fires, though officials have not completed their investigation of the causes.

Many of California’s most destructive fires have been fueled by powerful winds, which in some cases have caused power lines to snap off and spark blazes. Utility companies are on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, and officials have warned that the losses will grow if the agencies can’t find ways to reduce the risks.

“We’ve seen with fires in recent years we’re basically upping our estimate of what the risk exposure is. When we’re assessing the risk versus the benefit, it’s leaning more toward the side of spending money,” UC Berkeley electrical engineering professor Alexandra von Meier said.

Edison is asking the state for permission to spend the $582 million on improvements, including strengthening poles and using better technology to determine when winds put the power grid at risk.

Over the next two years, an estimated 600 miles of exposed power lines would be replaced with insulated ones that would not spark if they came in contact with a fallen branch or a Mylar balloon.

Officials said ratepayers would see their bills increase between 81 cents and $1.20 a month, but far less than if Edison is found liable for a catastrophic fire like those that hit Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties last October. Edison is estimated to face up to $4 billion in losses from the Thomas fire, which hit Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in December, and the Montecito mudslide that occurred a month later.

PG&E’s potential losses from the October blazes were so vast that the utility said it faced possible bankruptcy if it did not get some relief from the state. Those concerns prompted the state Legislature last month to approve a bill that would allow PG&E to borrow money for its 2017 wildfire costs while using funds collected from ratepayers to pay back the loan.

PG&E lobbied lawmakers heavily for help, warning that Wall Street investors could downgrade the company’s credit rating without relief from the Legislature. The bill was controversial, with some calling it a bailout for a utility that should have been better prepared to deal with the wildfire danger.

Wildfire liability has been a growing problem for California’s utilities. San Diego Gas & Electric has spent more than a decade seeking permission to pass along to ratepayers $379 million in costs from the deadly 2007 fires in San Diego County, which destroyed hundreds of homes. SDG&E spent $2.4 billion to resolve more than 2,000 lawsuits related to those fires, but the utility insists the blazes were ignited by factors beyond its control — including extreme Santa Ana winds and a tree limb that fell onto an SDG&E line due to high winds.

The upgrades Edison is proposing would reduce those risks, said Bill Chiu, the director of Edison’s Grid Resiliency and Wildfire Safety program.

“In the state of the ‘new normal,’ there’s this tremendous urgency to act quickly. Eight of the 20 most destructive fires in California happened since 2015,” Chiu said. “Even though wildfires start for many reasons, utility power lines is almost 10%. We feel it’s necessary we do our part.”

Along with insulated wiring, Edison will change out more than 15,000 current limiting fuses to new ones that stay cooler and respond faster during interruptions. New remote-controlled automatic reclosers that prevent lines from reenergizing during an interruption will also be installed.

High-definition cameras that can monitor remote parts of the grid are being added, as are 850 weather stations that will provide on-the-ground data for utility operators.

All of those upgrades are the kind of infrastructure investment that the utilities — and through them, consumers — should come to expect in the future, von Meier said.

San Diego Gas and Electric is planning to spend $3 million this year on wildfire safety, in addition to the $1 billion it has spent on the issue since 2007. The utility’s fire prevention plan outlines a broad overhaul of the system that includes putting power lines underground and replacing wooden power poles with concrete ones.

PG&E officials said the utility has spent more than $2 billion on vegetation management and infrastructure maintenance since 2013.

Exposed lines and falling power poles contributed to the deadly fires that swept across Northern California in October 2017, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

PG&E equipment was found to have played a role in more than half of the fires that broke out between Oct. 8 and 9, including branches falling into lines power lines for the Nuns, Atlas and Redwood fires, which killed 18 people. A cause has yet to be determined for the Cascade and Tubbs fires, which killed four and 22, respectively.

Almost all of those fires broke out in the middle of the night or early-morning hours amid high heat and gale-force winds that sent flames running across mountain slopes and between hillside canyons like a blowtorch.

In a perfect world, the kind of equipment Edison and other utilities are looking to add would be enough to stave off that kind of disaster. While they’ll certainly help, von Meier said, ultimately it’s playing the odds.

“It’s like getting to zero auto accidents on the freeway. You’d like to get there, but short of insulating every single mile of conductor and having new protection systems everywhere, it’s just not realistic,” she said. “In the long run, the best investment that the electric utilities and we all can make to prevent wildfire damage is investing in climate change mitigation. In the long run that’s what’s really targeting the cause of a lot of these fires.”

Another tactic power companies are increasingly employing is shutting down power in high-risk areas when winds get too strong. SDG&E has done this, to mixed reviews from residents.

Von Meier said she has homes in Edison and PG&E territory. She has received notices from both informing her that the power might be turned off during heavy winds.

“I’d much rather the utility shut it off preemptively than risk a fire or having a fire exacerbated,” she said.

To prevent wildfires, Edison seeks $582 million from ratepayers for a sweeping grid overhaul, by Joseph Serna, The Los Angeles Times, September 10, 2018.

CARB selects Los Angeles and Kern County communities for in-depth study of air quality impacts near oil and gas facilities

SACRAMENTO – As part of the state’s ongoing commitment to clean the air in communities most impacted by pollution, today the California Air Resources Board announced the selection of four communities for a new program to monitor air quality near oil and gas extraction facilities.

It is well known that short and long-term exposure to air pollutants can contribute to negative health outcomes, including asthma, cardiovascular disease, and in some cases, cancer. Limited information exists, however, on how oil and gas extraction facilities affect air quality in neighboring communities.

The Study of Neighborhood Air near Petroleum Sources (SNAPS) program was established to help fill the gap using a focused community-level approach. The selected communities will host mobile air monitoring units to identify and measure pollutants of concern over several months to help inform efforts to protect public health from environmental hazards.

“Many Californians live in communities near oil and gas facilities – but we know very little about the impact of these facilities on their neighbors’ health,” said Chair Mary D. Nichols. “We need up-to-date information to assess whether existing standards and regulations are effective, and to lay the groundwork for any needed improvements.”

Discussions on the SNAPS program started in November 2017 when CARB began holding public workshops, community meetings and tours of neighborhoods near oil and gas facilities. The process resulted in 56 candidate communities that were evaluated using eight metrics including CalEnviroScreen score, air pollution levels, density of oil and gas wells and community engagement, among others.

The four selected communities are located in the historic oil regions of the south San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles County:

  • Lost Hills, Lost Hills Oil Field, Kern County
  • Baldwin Hills, Inglewood Oil Field, Los Angeles County
  • McKittrick and Derby Acres, McKittrick Oil Field and Midway-Sunset Oil Field, Kern County
  • South Los Angeles, Las Cienegas Oil Field, Los Angeles County

These communities are diverse in size and population, reflecting many other oil and gas communities around the state. The study involves a 3-4 month monitoring campaign in each area including air monitoring trailer installation and community meetings to gather ideas, hear concerns, foster ongoing feedback, communicate results and discuss solutions.

“CARB recently adopted more stringent regulations requiring enhanced inspection of oil and gas operations including pump jacks. The rules require the use of technologies including chemical sniffers to better pinpoint and repair any leaks that are identified,” said Executive Officer Richard W. Corey. “The SNAPS program will complement the regulation to better ensure oil and gas operations that impact nearby communities are identified and addressed.”

SNAPS also complements the Community Air Protection Program (CAPP) under AB 617 by providing additional capacity to evaluate the effects of oil and gas facilities in particular. AB 617 requires CARB to select communities heavily impacted by air pollution for focused actions including setting up community air pollution monitoring systems, developing emissions reductions plans, or both. On September 27, the CARB Board will consider approving staff’s first ten community recommendations pursuant to AB 617. Together, the two efforts will provide focused, community-level action in fourteen of the state’s most polluted areas.

 

CARB selects Los Angeles and Kern County communities for in-depth study of air quality impacts near oil and gas facilities, Press Release, California Air Resources Board, September 7, 2018.

LA County Supes Vote To Support Paris Accord

LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday joined other counties, states and cities in support of the goals of the Paris Climate Accord.

Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis recommended registering the county with the We Are Still In coalition, saying impacts of human-driven climate change will include less frequent but more intense rainstorms, more frequent and longer droughts, increased wildland fires and urban forest die- offs, more vector-borne disease, rising seas, lower air quality and longer and hotter heat waves.

“The federal government has now abdicated leadership on this issue, increasing the importance of local action in avoiding the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change,” Kuehl and Solis said in their motion. “That is why over 2,300 governors, county officials, mayors, city councils, businesses and other entities from across the United States, representing over half of the U.S. population, have signed the We Are Still In declaration to demonstrate their intent to continue to ensure that the U.S. population remains a global leader in reducing emissions.”

The Paris Accord, reached in December 2015, represents a commitment to enact programs to limit global temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Ten states have signed onto the We Are Still In coalition: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington. The nearly 250 cities that have signed on include the 10 largest municipalities in America.

The supervisors’ unanimous vote also directs staffers to inventory the county’s greenhouse gas emissions and reset future emissions targets. In 2015, the county adopted a plan to cut emissions by 11 percent from 2010 levels by 2020.

The board also plans to accelerate the implementation of relevant policies that promote renewable energy and reduce transportation emissions as a result of the vote.

 

LA County Supes Vote To Support Paris Accord, by California News Wire Services, The Patch, September 5, 2018.

Organizations Form New Los Angeles Clean Energy Coalition

A group of sustainable business, environmental and community organizations Thursday announced they are forming a new coalition to help Los Angeles fill a commitment to use 100 percent. renewable energy.

The Los Angeles Clean Energy Coalition said it will advance policies and programs that expand access to renewable energy and reduce the use of fossil fuels in order to help L.A. achieve a 100 percent goal by 2040.

“Our city’s leaders have set a bold vision for L.A.’s clean energy future,” said Bahram Fazeli, director of research and policy at Communities for a Better Environment. “As a coalition, we’re focused on how to best support that vision, and keep our city on track to meet our clean energy goals with a focus on just transition and equity.”

LACEC founding coalition members include Communities for a Better Environment, Earthjustice, Environment California, Global Green USA, GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Business Council, Pacoima Beautiful and the Sierra Club.

The coalition said it will also advocate for an equitable clean energy transition that prioritizes communities which have historically “endured the burden” of fossil fuels.

“Equity is at the heart of our work,” said Veronica Padilla, executive director of Pacoima Beautiful. “We believe that L.A.’s clean energy transition must be an equitable process that puts frontline communities front and center. We support programs that expand access to clean energy to all Angelenos by ensuring that clean energy projects, investments, infrastructure and jobs prioritize communities who need it the most.”

 

Organizations Form New Los Angeles Clean Energy Coalition, by Contributing Editor, My News LA, August 16, 2018.

Toyota’s green terminal gets go-ahead from Port of Long Beach

Port of Long Beach officials on Monday moved forward on a green terminal plan being proposed by Toyota to better serve its hydrogen-powered clean vehicle line.

The renewable energy power plant would power the private terminal that imports Toyota vehicles at the port and be designed to reduce air pollution.

A hearing held before the unanimous vote to accept and approve permitting for the plans by the Toyota Logistics Services facility drew no comments from the public.

The major renovation on the terminal would add a self-contained fuel-cell power plant and a fueling station to the Toyota Logistics Services facility at Pier B. Each would help reduce air pollution by using renewable energy and eliminating the emissions of harmful gases that could potentially drift over neighboring areas.

The project would reconfigure the facility to streamline operations and reduce on-site vehicle movement and enhance and modernize the facility for safety, seismic and environmental purposes.

Heather Tomley, director of environmental planning, gave commissioners an overview of the project and said that mitigation measures were sufficient to send the terminal plans forward.

“Fugitive dust” was among the potential impacts but studies determined that could be mitigated with increased watering on the premises, Tomley said.

There also will be safeguards in place in the event of archaeological finds on the property.

“All potentially significant impacts will be mitigated to less than significant,” she told commissioners.

The property is located in the northeast part of the Long Beach Harbor and most of the area is within the city of Long Beach. A small northwest corner of the property is located within the city of Los Angeles.

Cars are delivered by ship to the site and are then processed to be shipped via truck and train to car dealerships in the western United States.

Toyota has been producing the fuel cell cars, banking on hydrogen power automobiles becoming a bigger share of the electric vehicle market in the future.

Nearly all of the terminal’s existing facilities on 223,000 square feet would be demolished to make way for the new elements and terminal makeover.

Toyota’s green terminal gets go-ahead from Port of Long Beach, by Donna Littlejohn, The Press Telegram, August 13, 2018.

 

Burbank, Calif., Asks Citizens About Future Electricity Purchases

(TNS) — Burbank, Calif., residents made it clear this week to Burbank Water and Power staff that they would like to see the city-owned utility make use of renewable sources.

More than 30 people participated in a town hall meeting hosted by Burbank Water and Power at the Buena Vista Branch Library Monday night, when staff from the city-owned utility gathered input and suggestions from the public regarding the future of the city’s energy sources.

Burbank Water and Power is currently in the process of drafting a long-term plan that would help guide the city and utility toward energy sources residents would like them to use in the foreseeable future. This was the second forum the utility held at the library, with the first one occurring on Saturday.

Several people in attendance at Monday’s meeting told Lincoln Bleveans, assistant general manager of power supply for the utility, that the city should move away from receiving energy from coal-fired facilities.

Burbank currently receives about 31% of its electricity needs from the Intermountain Power Plant in Utah, the largest facility of its kind in that state. The city has received power from this source since the mid-1980s, Bleveans said.

That power plant will be ceasing its coal-driven operations in 2025 and converting to a natural gas-fired facility. It has been losing customers because cities from Southern California are barred by California Senate Bill 1368 from buying or renewing long-term contracts from facilities that create too much pollution, Bleveans said.

Some residents were concerned about a possible 50-year contract with the Intermountain plant, which they said was too long a deal.

Bleveans countered their concerns, calling the large transmission line running from Intermountain Power Plant to Southern California a “crown jewel” that is a renewable-energy super-highway. “The only way to maintain our rights for that is to keep our seat at the table,” he said.

Resident Jack Panossian, a member of Burbank’s Community Development Goal Committee, said he is more interested in finding ways to retain energy created by Burbank Water and Power’s own natural gas-fired plant or received from external sources, such as the Intermountain Power Plant or the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Arizona.

Bleveans said there is no shortage of power in Burbank, and in many cases Burbank Water and Power will sell off energy that isn’t needed by the city.

He added that the technology to store energy in private homes or businesses is available, but the systems are still too expensive and not efficient enough to use on a citywide scale.

Thought it is still far off, Panossian said the utility should start looking into and investing in energy storage technology so Burbank can be at the forefront of renewable energy.

“It’s not just about sustaining where and how the energy is coming and going, I want to sustain the communities, the people,” Panossian said.

For those who could not make it to either of the town hall meetings, Burbank Water and Power has an online survey on its website, burbankwaterandpower.com, where residents can give their two cents on what the city’s energy future should look like. The survey will be available through the end of August.

Once the online surveys are complete, Bleveans said he and his staff will use the information to develop a long-term plan. He is aiming to have a report finished by November to be reviewed by the Burbank Water and Power Board.

If approved by the utility, it is expected go to the City Council for consideration sometime in December.

©2018 the Burbank Leader (Glendale, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

Burbank, Calif., Asks Citizens About Future Electricity Purchases, by Anthony Clark Carpio, FutureStructure, August 8, 2018.

Clean Power Alliance seeks Community Advisory Committee

Clean Power Alliance is seeking qualified applicants for its inaugural volunteer Community Advisory Committee. The Committee will be composed of 15 representatives from seven diverse geographic sub-regions within Clean Power Alliance territory and will advise the Clean Power Alliance Board of Directors on certain policy and planning matters. The Committee is a public body and will be subject to all applicable Ralph M. Brown Act provisions.

Clean Power Alliance application deadline has been extended. Clean Power Alliance asks that anyone wishing to apply submit a form by August 22. A selection panel will review applications and you may be contacted for an interview.

Committee Members will be appointed by the board of directors. To help shape Southern California’s energy future, interested residents can apply to be a member the Community Advisory Committee.

For more information, call (888) 585-3788 or email: customerservice@cleanpoweralliance.org.

 

Clean Power Alliance Update, by Timothy Straw, South Pasadena News, August 6, 2018.

People powering Glendale with virtual power plant

The epic heat and scattered blackouts in Glendale early this month were a wake up call to rethink our power system. Glendale has long relied on the gas-fired Grayson plant to generate electricity centrally then distribute it outward to power our homes. But this model is outdated. With the aging Grayson plant on its last legs, now is the time to chart a fresh course.

But what should that be? Glendale Water & Power wants another big gas plant — seemingly the only model they understand. This literally keeps the power in their hands, but it’s not a good deal for us.

A modern gas plant, while cleaner than plants of old, still emits climate-warming greenhouse gases and other dangerous pollutants. GWP’s environmental report finds the proposed plant would increase Glendale’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% (in contrast, Pasadena and Los Angeles are implementing sharp cuts). Extreme heat, drought and fires in California should be all the warning we need that emitting more greenhouse gases is unacceptable. The new plant would also worsen air quality, particularly in an area with several schools and daycare centers that already has some of the worst air in the region.

Gas generation is not just environmentally dangerous, it no longer makes financial sense. Even with today’s cheap natural gas, rooftop solar coupled with batteries is competitive with new gas plants on a life-cycle basis. In fact, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute, as prices continue to fall over the next 10 to 20 years, the cost of new renewable facilities will be less than the cost just to operate existing gas plants. A $500-million rebuilt Grayson would be a stranded asset long before it is paid off.

The alternative is distributed generation based on hundreds of points of clean, cheap solar generation spread across the city. This is the direction forward-thinking cities are headed.

Distributed power makes the grid more resilient. During the recent blackouts, GWP had enough power overall but couldn’t deliver it to specific neighborhoods where demand was exceptionally high. A new Grayson would not have helped. On the other hand, stored solar power distributed across the city could quickly deliver power to specific localities and head off a crash.

Furthermore, with the revolution in battery technology, solar no longer suffers from intermittency. Modern batteries deliver all the stabilizing services to the grid that gas provides, often with greater responsiveness, at costs which are competitive and falling fast.

To support this approach, our two groups, Glendale Environmental Coalition and Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, are working to promote a residential virtual power plant. Imagine 1,000 households with solar and batteries networked to mimic a small power plant. Participating residents lock in lower costs, just as they do with standard solar programs. But the batteries hold stored energy that can be delivered to the grid at targeted locations to meet peak needs, reducing the risk of system failures. It also helps avoid the environmental and financial costs of a new gas plant, and if power goes out anyway, homeowners have their batteries to keep the lights on.

The virtual power plant will not by itself solve Glendale’s power needs. But it is one of a portfolio of solutions that clean energy companies are eager to bring to Glendale. We hope our leaders will seize this opportunity to make Glendale a leader in renewable technology.

Daniel Brotman is an adjunct professor of economics at Glendale Community College. He recently formed the Glendale Environmental Coalition.

Michael Beck is a board member of the Verdugo Hills Group, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club.

 

People powering Glendale with virtual power plant, by Daniel Brotman and Michael Beck, Glendale News-Press, July 26, 2018.