A Big Step Forward in Debate Over LA’s Clean Energy Future

Mayor Eric Garcetti reaffirmed Los Angeles’ commitment to securing a carbon- and pollution-free energy future for Angelenos in a groundbreaking announcement today that the nation’s largest municipal utility will not be moving forward with a controversial plan to rebuild three of its natural gas plants.

The announcement related to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will help move Los Angeles along the path toward meeting California’s goal of a carbon-free electric grid by 2045.

What specific changes can we expect?

LADWP, which serves over 4 million people in a 465-square-mile area, will still plan to procure the least-cost energy, but now in the context of meeting the state’s 100 percent clean electricity goal under SB100 signed into law last year.

The mayor said that as long as LADWP continues investing in batteries and other clean energy technologies, there should be no electricity service issues if the Scattergood plant is retired by 2024. and the Haynes and Harbor plan by 2029.

The mayor announced that the existing power planning process, referred to as the Strategic Long-Term Resource Plan (SLTRP), will be halted until a study to determine what investments should be made to achieve a 100 percent renewable energy supply, commissioned by the city of Los Angeles and conducted by the National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL), is completed. This is a planning paradigm shift through which LADWP should be able to develop the most cost-efficient path toward a carbon-free electric grid.

As Mayor Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times before today’s formal announcement:

“It’s the right thing to do for our health. It’s the right thing to do for our Earth. It’s the right thing to do for our economy. And now is the time to start the beginning of the end of natural gas.”

Why This Matters

The mayor’s announcement is a welcome relief for a city plagued by the impacts of air pollution and climate change. California is already bearing the cost of climate change and is expected to continue to experience extreme climate hazards, from sea level rise to an increase in wildfires, due to an increase in global emissions. Los Angeles is in the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), home to 17 million Californians living in the most populous area of the most populous state in our nation. LADWP’s energy choices not only have an impact on its 4 million customers but also the air breathed by 17 million Californians in the district.

According to  SCAQMD, the region is also home to some of the worst air quality in California. Even more so, a study  by Cal State Fullerton, concluded that the cost of pollution translates into more than $1,250 per person per year, totaling nearly $22 billion annually. Clean energy is integral to a healthy and thriving future for the city of Los Angeles.

Meeting Los Angeles’ Energy Needs Sustainably and Affordably

NRDC is committed to working with LADWP to develop a transparent, accessible, and thorough planning process that keeps electricity affordable while reducing emissions and air pollution. The recently released California Public Utilities Commission procurement plan provides a model plan that advises California’s electricity providers to invest solely in renewables and storage to meet all future electric-load requirements while complying with the state’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goals. LADWP can do better by developing a 100 percent renewable energy future through investing in energy efficiency and smaller distributed energy resources (locally generated) such as rooftop solar and electric vehicles.

These distributed energy resources not only reduce customer’s energy bills, they also will improve LA residents’ quality of life. A forthcoming study from NRDC’s Energy Efficiency For All (EEFA) program demonstrates how investing in energy efficiency programs that specifically benefit residents of affordable housing can provide the city a pathway to equity, clean energy and jobs.

Background: How We Got Here

In the past few months there has been heated debate over the city’s energy future. At the center of the debate, clean energy advocates questioned LADWP intentions to possibly invest billions of dollars to rebuild three aging gas-fired power plants along the coast. LADWP had proposed continued repowering of gas turbines in its 2017 Final Power Strategic Long-Term Resource Plan. The utility argued that energy from wind, solar, and efficiency – with the help of battery technology and other innovations – is not yet robust or reliable enough to meet immediate electricity demand.

Many environmental organizations and environmental justice organizations, including Pacoima Beautiful, Communities for a Better Environment, Sierra Club, and Food & Water Watch, were concerned the proposed repowering of the gas plants made it appear the utility was committing to dirty energy that would exacerbate the health risks borne by millions of Californians. DWP’s message seemed to be in stark contrast to the climate leadership of the city and the state.

As recently as September 2016, the Los Angeles City Council approved a measure directing LADWP to map out a path away from fossil fuels and toward 100 percent clean energy. The commitment to forge forward and source clean energy was further cemented with last year’s signing of SB 100 (sponsored by Senate President Pro tempore Emeritus Kevin de León) and Executive Order B-55-18 issued by Gov. Jerry Brown, which call for a 100 percent clean electricity requirement for the state, and a new target to achieve carbon neutrality – both by 2045.  Furthermore, SB 32 and SB 350 (De León. Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015) requires the electric sector to achieve its share of 40 percent emissions reduction from 1990 levels by 2030, along with doubling energy efficiency goals.

Onward

Today’s announcement reconfirms the Mayor’s commitment to staying the course and finding reliable clean energy solutions. It’s also a great tribute to the hard work done by local environmental and environmental justice organizations.

NRDC, along with several clean energy advocates, has been engaged in LADWP’s 100% Renewables Advisory Committee process, to ensure clean energy is not a mere aspiration but a reality. We look forward to working with LADWP so that that sustainability and equity continue to be core values.

 

A Big Step Forward in Debate Over LA’s Clean Energy Future, by Michele Knab Hasson, Natural Resources Defense Council, February 12, 2019.

How will L.A. replace three gas plants that Mayor Eric Garcetti plans to shut down?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti thrilled environmentalists and public health advocates with his announcement that the Department of Water and Power won’t spend billions of dollars rebuilding three gas-fired power plants along the coast.

But now the hard work starts: figuring out how to replace the three facilities without raising energy prices or increasing the risk of power outages. And another battle looms on the horizon, as Los Angeles moves forward with plans for a new gas facility in Utah to replace a coal-fired power plant that still generates much of the city’s electricity.

City officials and activists who have pushed Los Angeles to take more aggressive steps to tackle climate change hailed Garcetti’s decision to stop DWP from making life-extending investments at the Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor gas plants. At a news conference Tuesday, the mayor cast his move as part of a global struggle to rein in the carbon emissions that are heating the planet, and as a major step toward removing fossil fuels from the power mix of the nation’s second-largest city.

“We often wonder, what does history look like, what does it feel like? It feels like this, today,” Garcetti said. “A moment in which all of us as human beings are challenged to step up and to lead in a moment that will define our lives, and the lives of our children, and our children’s children.”

Natural gas accounted for 31% of the city’s power supply in 2017, with much of that generation coming from Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor. DWP managers had argued in recent months that those three facilities in particular are critical to keeping the lights on for the city’s 4 million residents, especially on hot summer days with the highest electricity demand and during outages elsewhere on the power grid.

Los Angeles is under state orders to shutter all 10 gas-fired generators at the three plants in the coming years because they use ocean water for cooling, which can harm marine life. DWP officials had said they weren’t sure clean technologies like batteries would be cheap or effective enough to replace the gas plants before the state’s deadlines, 2024 for Scattergood and 2029 for Harbor and Haynes.

On Tuesday, they sang a different tune.

“The question that staff has somehow heard for a number of years is, ‘Can we?’ And I don’t think ‘can we?’ is the right word. It’s ‘How can we?’” DWP General Manager David Wright said. “Some of the best managers and the best engineers, planners and operators will take this challenge and will make it work.”

The department may try to buy itself some extra time on one of the gas plants. Nancy Sutley, the utility’s chief sustainability officer, said at a board meeting Tuesday that DWP staff could ask the State Water Resources Control Board to extend the deadline to shut down Scattergood to 2029, if the DWP board approves.

Los Angeles isn’t alone in trying to eliminate fossil fuels: California lawmakers passed a bill last year requiring the state to get 100% of its electricity from climate-friendly sources by 2045. The main challenge is that the two cheapest and most popular sources of renewable energy, solar and wind power, are intermittent, generating electricity only when the sun shines or the wind blows.

That’s starting to change as lithium-ion batteries and other forms of energy storage get cheaper, making it possible to bank electricity from solar panels and wind turbines in increasingly large quantities. But some critics still question whether it’s possible to run an affordable, reliable power grid without fossil fuels anytime soon.

Kendal Asuncion, a public policy manager for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, pointed to the recommendations of a team of DWP consultants who had advised the utility to rebuild seven of the 10 ocean-cooled gas units. Asuncion said the city’s environmental goals must be “balanced with resiliency, responsibility and financial responsibility” to keep power flowing smoothly and electricity rates low.

“Businesses are concerned about these impacts to our bottom line, and we’re concerned that there was no ratepayer advocate report or analysis done on this,” Asuncion said at Tuesday’s board meeting.

It’s hard to predict whether battery costs will keep falling, or what other clean energy technologies and strategies will evolve over the next decade. But there’s a growing body of scientific literature suggesting that eliminating fossil fuels is doable. Just last month, researchers from Finland and Brazil released a study finding that powering the Americas with 100% renewable energy may actually reduce electricity costs.

As Los Angeles officials celebrated the transition away from natural gas on Tuesday, they mostly glossed over the fact that the city still gets much of its power from an even dirtier fossil fuel: coal. In 2017, 18% of L.A.’s electricity was generated at the Intermountain Power Plant, a coal-burning facility outside Delta, Utah.

That plant supplies energy to dozens of cities and power agencies in California and Utah, and is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2025. But the DWP, which buys nearly half the electricity generated at Intermountain, supports a plan backed by other Intermountain buyers to replace the facility with an 840-megawatt gas plant — the same type of power plant Garcetti wants to retire here in the Los Angeles Basin.

Asked about DWP’s support for a new gas plant in Utah, Garcetti described it as “part of a plan to get off of coal.” But he acknowledged that any new investment in fossil fuels “doesn’t sit easy, I think, with any of us.”

“We have to make sure that there is sustainable power, and it’s way too early to be able to say there’s something where we can snap our fingers and have battery storage at that level,” Garcetti said. “It’s something that I continue to push this department to look at in any way that we can. Because that to me is not a long-term solution. I don’t want to see in 30 years from now that we have a natural gas plant, even if it’s in Utah.”

DWP officials have said they agreed to a gas plant at the Intermountain site in part to maintain access to the Southern Transmission System, a 500-mile power line corridor that brings electricity from Utah to Southern California. They see the transmission lines as a valuable pathway for importing low-cost clean energy from Utah alongside the gas-fired electricity. They’ve also said they plan to pay down the gas plant’s costs on an accelerated schedule, to make possible its early retirement.

But S. David Freeman, a former DWP general manager who now works with environmental groups to advocate for renewable energy, has criticized Garcetti for going along with the Utah gas plant — even though the mayor helped downsize the project to 840 megawatts from the 1,200 megawatts previously supported by DWP.

“It’s global warming, for God’s sake. It doesn’t matter if it’s in Utah or if it’s in downtown L.A. as far as the climate’s concerned,” Freeman said. “I think a little sunlight needs to be shone on that sucker.”

 

How will L.A. replace three gas plants that Mayor Eric Garcetti plans to shut down?, by Sammy Roth, The Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2019.

Los Angeles ditches plan to invest billions in fossil fuels, Mayor Eric Garcetti says

Los Angeles is abandoning a plan to spend billions of dollars rebuilding three natural gas power plants along the coast, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday, in a move to get the city closer to its goal of 100% renewable energy and improve air quality in highly polluted communities.

The mayor’s decision marks an abrupt change of course for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where top staffers have argued in recent months that the gas plants are critical to keeping the lights on in the city. Environmental groups have urged DWP to replace the aging facilities with cleaner alternatives, saying the gas-fired plants need to go because they contribute to climate change and local air pollution.

Los Angeles has steadily moved away from coal for electricity, divesting from the Navajo plant in Arizona three years ago and announcing plans to stop buying power from Utah’s Intermountain plant by 2025. But with coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, now nearly removed from the city’s energy mix, it’s time to start planning for a future with zero planet-warming energy sources, Garcetti said Monday — and that means no natural gas.

“It’s the right thing to do for our health. It’s the right thing to do for our Earth. It’s the right thing to do for our economy,” Garcetti said. “And now is the time to start the beginning of the end of natural gas.”

“This is the Green New Deal,” he added, referring to the sweeping climate change policies championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y) and endorsed by several contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination. “Not in concept, not in the future, but now.”

The mayor’s decision comes several months after state lawmakers passed a bill requiring California to get 100% of its electricity from climate-friendly sources by 2045, up from a previous target of 50% renewable by 2030.

A slate of environmental groups had argued that investing in the Los Angeles gas plants would be inconsistent with that goal, and had urged Garcetti and DWP not to rebuild the Scattergood, Harbor and Haynes power plants along the coast. The city is under state orders to shutter 10 gas-fired generating units at those facilities in the coming years because they use ocean water for cooling, which can harm marine life.

The Scattergood and Harbor gas plants sit in communities with some of the worst pollution in California, state data show. Scattergood is in El Segundo, just south of Los Angeles International Airport, and Harbor is in Wilmington by the ports of L.A. and Long Beach.

As recently as December, DWP management signaled support for replacing some of the gas-fired generators with newer, more efficient machines equipped with dry-cooling technology that doesn’t use ocean water. Utility officials had said that batteries charged with solar or wind power aren’t yet cheap or reliable enough to replace the gas plants, without increasing the risk of power outages among the 4 million people served by DWP.

A team of consultants hired by the city-run utility had recommended rebuilding seven of the 10 ocean-cooled units, and replacing the other three with a combination of energy storage, solar power and energy efficiency. The consultants estimated the cost of those projects, plus the gas turbine replacements, at $3.4 billion — more than a billion dollars higher than the estimated $2.2-billion cost of rebuilding all three gas plants.

That plan faced pushback from environmental activists and also from one of Garcetti’s appointees to DWP’s board of commissioners, Aura Vasquez. At a board meeting last month, Vasquez pressed utility staff to look beyond gas plants and embrace batteries and other new technologies as a means of providing reliable power.

“We are in uncharted territories. I get it. We are in a new era. We are headed to renewables that some might view as unreliable,” Vasquez said. “I’m trying to figure out how to reinvent the way that we do business.”

Garcetti said his office concluded that Los Angeles wouldn’t have trouble keeping the lights on if Scattergood is retired by 2024 and Haynes and Harbor by 2029, as long as DWP keeps investing in batteries and other clean energy technologies. He said he asked DWP’s top managers to “shift their thinking.”

“Instead of saying all the reasons why not, get to a reason as to why,” Garcetti said.

Alexandra Nagy, an organizer with Food and Water Watch, which has urged DWP not to keep investing in gas, said Garcetti is “showing the rest of the country what a Green New Deal can mean for our communities.”

“We are hopeful that this is a first step to swiftly transition L.A. off fossil fuels and move the city to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030,” Nagy said in a statement. “It’s time to clean up our air, prioritize health communities and green jobs, and usher in a clean energy revolution.”

Some of the sharpest criticism of DWP’s original plan came from S. David Freeman, a former DWP general manager who has led public power agencies across the country and advised presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter on energy. At the same board meeting last month, the 93-year-old, cowboy-hat-wearing industry veteran accused DWP officials of ignoring the real and growing costs of climate change.

“This is public power. You’re the voice of the people,” said Freeman, who now works with environmental groups to advocate for renewable energy. “And I think that any poll of the people of Los Angeles reveals that they want you to pay real, real good attention to the climate issue, and not be what I would call an ‘intelligent denier,’ which is what you are if you don’t take the actions that the climatologists say we must take.

“It’s not a question of wanting to or it being convenient,” he added. “It’s just as important as keeping the lights on and keeping the rates down.”

Los Angeles ditches plan to invest billions in fossil fuels, Mayor Eric Garcetti says, by Sammy Roth, The Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2019.

The new kid in town: Southern California Edison’s competitor is up and running

An alternative to Southern California Edison hit the scene this month in a big way. On Feb. 1, roughly 946,000 customers in 29 cities and Los Angeles and Ventura counties became customers of the Clean Power Alliance.

Even though many customers might not realize the change in their power producer, the emergence of community choice aggregation is dramatically changing the energy market.

CCAs such as Clean Power Alliance let governments band together to procure renewable power and storage. The goal is to offer Edison and other investor-owned utilities competition by offering customers choice, producing a lot more clean energy and generating backyard economic activity through local investments in renewables.

Edison continues transmitting the energy, maintaining the infrastructure and sending out bills, but the power will come from Clean Power Alliance.

MORE: Ventura County energy bills in 2019: How they’re changing 

Ratepayers have the option of staying with CPA, returning to Edison or choosing a different mix of renewable energy than the one selected by the elected officials who represent them.

Policymakers in each city and the two counties had three options:

  • 36 percent (“lean” power): 1 percent savings compared to Edison base rates. This includes Camarillo and Simi Valley ratepayers.
  • 50 percent (“clean” power): Equal to Edison base rates. This includes Moorpark ratepayers.
  • 100 percent (“green” power): 9 percent higher than Edison base rates. This includes ratepayers in unincorporated Ventura County and the cities of Ojai, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Ventura.

But those aren’t the only changes afoot. Rates will climb higher in April and possibly again later in the year, regardless of what option a customer chose or chooses. A customer can make a change at any time, but an “opt out“ to Edison requires a 12-month wait before returning to CPA.

A shortfall in 2018

On Jan. 31, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a request by Edison to raise rates to recover an $815 million shortfall in 2018. The shortfall stems from a spike in temperatures that coincided with a steep increase in natural gas prices, Edison said.

That will translate to a 5 percent increase for the 12-month period that starts in April, according to Edison.

MORE: Tales of ‘Love, Romance and Other Disasters’ take center stage in Ventura

Company officials wrote in an email that the unexpected shortfall was because of “gas delivery constraints due to extended pipeline maintenance and restrictions on the operation of its Aliso Canyon gas storage system.”

Aliso Canyon is operated by Sempra Energy Southern California Gas Co. system, which is not affiliated with Edison.

The Clean Power Alliance objected to its customers having to pay part of that charge.

“Most disturbing, however, is that all customers, served by Edison and Clean Power Alliance, are going to see their electricity bills rise in 2019,” CPA Executive Director Ted Bardacke said. “Despite this decision, we are committed to offering clean power at competitive prices to meet our communities’ desire for less polluting energy.”

Edison said its decision is consistent with state law and treats all customers fairly. Edison bought the power in 2018 on behalf of all of its customers, which included those who on Feb. 1 moved to CPA, the company said.

Additionally, Edison refunds customers when energy costs were lower than anticipated, which is why customers got a 1 percent decrease to their bill on Jan. 1, 2019, compared to Jan. 1, 2018, said company spokesman Ron Gales.

How customers have responded

As of Jan. 30, roughly 23,900 customers had made changes to their accounts, reflecting 2.48 percent of customers. The majority of those opted out, meaning they’ll continue to receive both transmission and power from Edison, but 0.61 percent chose a lower tier of renewable energy and 0.04 percent chose a higher mix.

That so few customers made changes isn’t unexpected. It’s one of the reasons the enabling legislation that allowed for community choice aggregation made it an “opt-out” program. Proponents of 100 percent also argued few people would make changes to their providers.

“Behavioral studies demonstrate that the vast majority of people stick with the default setting. Since we want more renewable energy, then our defaults should support that,” Michelle Ellison, Ojai’s alternate to the CPA board, wrote in an op-ed to The Star.

Chart from Ventura County Star

The highest opt-out rates happened in Thousand Oaks (8.93 percent), where an additional 4 percent went to lower tiers.

Paramount in Los Angeles County, which chose 36 percent, reported the lowest activity, with just 0.13 percent opting out and another 0.02 percent increasing tiers.

Other indirect costs

Indirectly, taxpayers are helping foot the bill for cleaner energy in other ways too.

The city of Ventura stayed at the 100 percent default, which will cost an additional $400,000, said Joe Yahner, Ventura’s environmental services manager.

Had the city gone to the lowest renewable rate, 36 percent, it would have saved $45,000 compared to what it would have paid under Edison, he said.

The County of Ventura also chose to remain at 100 percent at a cost of $736,000 compared to SCE’s base rate.

Elected officials on both boards expressed strong support for CPA, with several saying the investment was critical for the well-being of generations to come and to do their part to stem the havoc scientists have warned climate change will bring.

What’s next

CPA will send out two more mailers letting customers know about the change and these will have the “corresponding percentages on them and also will have a clearer design per customer feedback,” Allison Mannos, CPA’s marketing manager, wrote in an email.

CPA has visited 11 organizations throughout Ventura County since January, she said, and will continue to do outreach. She said the rollout has gone well so far.

For its part, Edison expects a decision by midyear on its general rate case, submitted every three years, said company spokesman Ron Gales. Separately, it has a filing to recover costs for improvements needed to make it more resilient to wildfires.

“We don’t know what they’re going to be yet because we’re waiting for a decision” from the PUC, he said.

The company has also been letting customers know about changes to its pricing, which for businesses includes lower rates when a business isn’t operating during peak hours of 4-9 p.m. They used to be noon to 6 p.m. It’s also been rolling out programs to offer discounts that reduce energy usage on the 12 (typically) hottest days of the year.

Starting March 1, residents will also be able to take advantage of new pricing plans that reduce costs for households that reduce usage from 4-9 p.m. More details on those offerings are coming and will be available at sce.com, Gales said.

 

The new kid in town: Southern California Edison’s competitor is up and running, by Arlene Martinez, VC Star, February 9, 2019.

Workshop sheds light on power switchover

Leaders from the City of Moorpark and the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) took time last week to answer residents’ questions about the city’s new electricity provider.

“We decided to have this meeting due to some confusion in the community about the CPA rollout, how it works and what it would mean for the residents,” Jessica Sandifer, Moorpark’s community services manager, told the Acorn.

In January 2018, the city voted to join CPA, a community choice aggregation program made up of 32 local government agencies in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The change would give residents a choice between Clean Power Alliance and Southern California Edison, the latter of which now provides electricity to businesses and homes in Southern California.

In 2018 other local jurisdictions —including Camarillo, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks—also chose to join CPA.

The goal of CPA is to provide as much electricity as possible from renewable sources like solar and wind. As it creates more demand, the alliance hopes to invest in clean energy operations and sign long-term clean energy contracts.

Electricity from CPA will reach homeowners this month.

During the nearly two-hour meeting on Jan. 24, Moorpark residents expressed their confusion and frustration about the switchover. Some residents asked specific questions about CPA’s long-term energy contracts, while others simply wanted to know how using the new provider would affect their bills.

Moorpark resident Karl Geiger said Ted Bardacke, CPA executive director, did a good job answering people’s questions, but that Bardacke didn’t change his mind on the community choice aggregate.

“I am neither for nor against the switch over,” Geiger told the Acorn. “I am for cheap, reliable and stable electric power service. (Our family) ran the numbers in December and opted out. We may opt in after the CPA’s business model and pricing stabilize.”

Others in attendance asked questions about the creation of CPA, the provider’s fee structure and the cost comparison to Edison.

Bardacke said the organization was formed to bring choice and local control to Southern California, as its board is made up of officials from each of CPA’s participating communities. CPA was also developed to bring competition to Southern California and end the monopoly held by Edison.

“Our mission is really a clean energy future that is locally controlled, where you can talk to a board member and see the executive director come out to your communities,” Bardacke said. “Right now most of you have a monopoly situation where you don’t have a choice. We’re here to offer that choice.”

With CPA, residents can choose the amount of clean energy they want to use in their homes.

Those in Moorpark who do not make a choice will automatically be enrolled in CPA and will receive 50 percent of their power from renewable sources. The cost for most residents will be about the same as they are paying Edison, which gets about 34 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Residents can instead choose to receive 36 percent of their energy from renewable sources through CPA and pay about 2 percent less than they are currently paying Edison or they can choose to receive 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources through CPA and pay about 8 percent more than what they are currently paying Edison.

The electricity generated by CPA will still be delivered via Southern California Edison’s infrastructure, and SCE will still issue electricity bills.

“We acquire energy resources, it travels through lines owned and operated by Southern California Edison and is delivered to your home or business,” Bardacke said. “In some sense think of us as a content provider and Edison still maintains the lines.”

He said residents’ bills will look about the same as they do today, with two line items for generation costs and infrastructure costs.

“After we launch service here in Moorpark you will continue to just get one bill from Edison and it will still have those two line items,” Bardacke said. “One of those will say Clean Power Alliance and the price of that will be determined by the (renewable) tier or the rate that you select.”

The CPA will honor Edison’s discounted rates through programs like the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) and the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA). CPA will also offer residents rebates and incentives for using solar panels on their homes.

Residents who do not want to switch to CPA can opt out of the program before their first meter read in February. Those who opt out in the first 60 days of CPA will have to pay a one-time 50- cent fee to Edison. After that, residents must wait an additional six months to opt out without facing any additional charges from Edison and CPA.

Thus far in Moorpark, the opt out rate is at 2.5 percent, which is about the same as in other cities in Ventura County, according to Bardacke. Moorpark homeowners, however, have the highest opt up and down rates in the area, with residents choosing to use energy from 36 percent renewable sources or 100 percent renewable sources.

“It’s quite remarkable to see that people are engaged and are trying to figure this out,” Bardacke said. “We really appreciate that because we love our customers to be engaged.”

 

Workshop sheds light on power switchover, by Christina Cox, Moorpark Acorn, February 1, 2019.

What you need to know about Clean Power Alliance, SoCal’s newest electric company

Southern California Edison has been the region’s dominant electric utility for more than a century. But for nearly 1 million homes across the Southland, the days of Edison’s monopoly are ending.

Clean Power Alliance is becoming the default energy provider this month for residents of 29 cities, as well as unincorporated parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The government-run power agency launched for a small group of customers last year and will continue its rollout in May, when it expands service to 100,000 businesses.

If Clean Power Alliance is your new power company, you should have received notices in the mail by now. But you probably still have plenty of questions.

Here’s everything you need to know about the switch, including what it means for your electricity rates and why Edison isn’t going away entirely.

How do I know if Clean Power Alliance will be my new energy provider?

If you live in one of these cities, you’ll be switched to Clean Power Alliance service by the end of February: Agoura Hills, Alhambra, Arcadia, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Carson, Claremont, Culver City, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, Hawthorne, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Moorpark, Ojai, Oxnard, Paramount, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills Estates, Santa Monica, Sierra Madre, Simi Valley, South Pasadena, Temple City, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, West Hollywood and Whittier.

The February switch also applies to residents of unincorporated Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Westlake Village residents are on track to start receiving service from Clean Power Alliance in 2020.

Residents of cities with their own municipal power departments, such as Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale, will stick with their city-run energy provider.

Can I sign up for Clean Power Alliance if I’m an Edison customer living somewhere else?

No.

Why is this happening? Do I need to do anything?

You don’t need to do anything. Your electricity service will continue uninterrupted after you’re switched from Edison to Clean Power Alliance, which will happen automatically after your regularly scheduled meter reading in February.

This is happening because the 29 cities and two counties got together and created a community choice aggregator, or CCA. Forming a CCA allows local governments to decide what kinds of power to buy for their communities, how much to charge and what incentives to provide for going solar or reducing energy use.

California had 19 CCAs serving more than 8 million customers last year, but Clean Power Alliance will be the biggest one yet. Elsewhere in Southern California, local governments are making plans to form CCAs in Riverside County and San Diego, where Mayor Kevin Faulconer recently endorsed calls for community choice.

Am I going to pay more for electricity?

It depends what you want from Clean Power Alliance. The CCA offers three rate plans to its customers: One with a 36% renewable energy mix that the alliance says is 1% cheaper than Edison’s base rate, one with 50% renewables that’s on par with Edison, and one with 100% renewables that’s 9% more expensive than Edison.

Every city and county in Clean Power Alliance has chosen one of those plans as the default for its residents. Eight cities picked the cheapest option; nine cities, plus Ventura County, opted for the 100% renewables rate.

If you don’t like your local government’s choice, you can switch to another rate plan at any time. You can also opt out of Clean Power Alliance and return to Edison. Of the roughly 960,000 homes and businesses that will be eligible for Clean Power Alliance by the end of February, just 14,000, or less than 1.5%, have opted out.

So who’s setting my electricity rate now? And what will they do with my money?

Rates are set by Clean Power Alliance’s 31-member board of directors, with one representative from each city and county. The board is chaired by Diana Mahmud, a South Pasadena City Council member. Its monthly meetings are open to the public.

Clean Power Alliance has big plans for cleaning up the region’s energy supply, said Ted Bardacke, the alliance’s executive director and a former infrastructure director for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Over time, that could mean incentives for customers to install electric water heaters or space heaters, reducing the need to burn natural gas in homes and other buildings. It could mean free or discounted electric vehicle chargers, or special electricity rates that encourage people to charge their EVs at home. It also could mean community battery installations that reduce the need for polluting, gas-fired “peaker” power plants.

“We’re very interested in projects that not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also reduce local air pollution, and that leads you to also improve public health,” Bardacke said.

Can I still put solar panels on my roof?

Yes. Clean Power Alliance offers a net metering rate plan for solar-powered homes and businesses just as Edison does, but with slightly more favorable terms.

Does community choice have any drawbacks?

So far, most CCAs seem to be living up to their promises of cleaner energy, lower rate options and local decision-making. But it’s yet to be seen how they’ll fare over the long term. Some renewable energy companies are worried the CCAs won’t be able to buy enough clean power over the next few years to meet the state’s climate change goals. The CCAs dispute that premise, saying they’re buying plenty of solar and wind energy.

Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, has also warned that the shift from monopoly utilities to more decentralized decision-making could have dangerous unintended consequences, such as a repeat of the state’s early-2000s energy crisis. The CCAs say that concern is hugely overblown.They point out that the state’s first community choice provider, Marin Clean Energy, launched in 2010, followed by Sonoma Clean Power in 2014 and Lancaster Choice Energy in 2015, and so far there have been no crises.

But 16 more CCAs have started serving customers in the last three years, and it’s hard to predict how things will shake out — especially as California’s energy sector is also reshaped by other forces, including a mandate of 100% clean power by 2045 and the bankruptcy filing of the state’s biggest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric.

Does community choice mean Edison is going away?

No. Edison will still be responsible for operating the poles and wires of the electric grid, and Clean Power Alliance customers will still pay the investor-owned utility for those services. Edison will still send out everyone’s bills too.

Clean Power Alliance customers will also see a new item on their bills: the “Power Charge Indifference Adjustment,” more commonly known as the exit fee. As the name suggests, it’s an additional monthly charge that CCA customers must pay Edison to cover the costs of long-term contracts signed by the utility years ago to provide electricity to all of its customers. State officials say it’s only fair for CCA customers to keep covering their share of those costs because Edison would otherwise have to increase rates for its remaining customers.

There’s an ongoing debate about how to calculate the exit fees, with CCAs arguing the investor-owned utilities are inflating the numbers. The Public Utilities Commission approved an increase in the exit fees last year, although the commission may continue to tweak that decision.

So that’s everything I’ll still be paying to Edison, right?

Not quite. For the next year, homes served by Clean Power Alliance will also pay an additional $100 million to Edison to help fill a hole in the company’s power budget. Edison said it spent about $815 million more than it expected on electricity in 2018, partly because of a summer heat wave. The utility asked the Public Utilities Commission for permission to charge some of those costs to homes leaving this month for Clean Power Alliance because Edison purchased the electricity on behalf of all its customers, including those now leaving.

The Public Utilities Commission approved that request in a 5-0 vote on Tuesday, over the objections of Clean Power Alliance. The community choice provider had said it would have to cut into its financial reserves to offer customers the rate savings it promised, while accounting for the additional $100 million they will now pay.

Cliff Rechtschaffen, a member of the Public Utilities Commission, said the additional charge will probably raise electricity prices for Edison and Clean Power Alliance customers by about 5% over the next year.

What you need to know about Clean Power Alliance, SoCal’s newest electric company, by Sammy Roth, The Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2019.

Alliance will provide clean, competitive energy

Ventura County has become one of the largest communities in the nation to adopt 100 percent clean, renewable energy. With the arrival of the Clean Power Alliance, the county and many of its cities are dramatically reducing emissions in a simple and cost-effective way.

Last month, residents received the first of four mailers about the launch of Clean Power Alliance residential service in February. Service for nonresidential customers will begin in May.

Prior to the alliance, we could only buy power from Southern California Edison. Now, for the first time in our region’s history, there is competition and we have a choice.

The primary goal of the alliance is to provide clean, renewable energy at competitive rates. The alliance is lean, transparent and accountable, overseen by locally elected representatives who answer to the public.

The majority of Ventura County’s alliance members are starting residents and businesses at 100 percent renewable energy — the cities of Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Ventura and Ojai, and the county of Ventura for unincorporated areas. These five are joined by five others in Los Angeles County, so about a third of the alliance’s 1 million customers will be invested in 100 percent renewable sources.

This will be the largest and most significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions ever achieved in these jurisdictions, and it will make our environment healthier and our air cleaner. For example, emissions from the generation of electricity used by Ventura County government facilities alone will drop from 19,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide to 72 metric tons per year.

It is fitting and appropriate that Ventura County takes the lead on reducing emissions, as we are particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. We continue to face water shortages even in winter, along with increasing frequency and severity of wildfires. Our coastal communities and Naval Base Ventura County face potential sea level rise, and some of our largest economic engines, including the agricultural industry, are already feeling the impacts of climate change.

The leaders of Ventura County’s 100 percent green communities view this default choice as responsible governance, advancing a prudent, efficient and effective solution to a serious problem.

Alliance customers can always choose among three rate options: Lean Power (36 percent renewable); Clean Power (50 percent renewable); and Green Power (100 percent renewable).

For just 7 to 9 percent above Edison’s base rate (but 5 percent less than its comparable 100 percent renewable option), we have the opportunity to immediately invest in 100 percent renewable energy for our homes and businesses, which will lead us away from polluting fossil-fueled electricity.

The average resident currently pays $112 per month for electricity; the 100 percent option would add approximately $8, making the total bill $120 per month.

Customers in 100 percent renewable energy communities who are enrolled in CARE, FERA or Medical Baseline will get Green Power at no extra charge. Those with solar net energy metering systems can receive bill credits, and more cash back than what Edison provides, when they produce more energy than they use.

Surplus revenues from alliance operations will be reinvested in our communities via local programs and benefits to customers. Through its board and public Community Advisory Committee, the alliance will work to develop community programs addressing such priorities as local renewable energy development and job creation, rebates and incentives for measures that will clean our air, and rate savings.

At any time and with no switching fees, customers can opt for another plan (Lean Power or Clean Power) that is cheaper or the same as Edison’s base rate and still has a higher renewable energy content. Customers can also opt out and return to Edison.

Edison will continue to maintain transmission and distribution lines and handle billing for all customers, which will now include a line item for Clean Power Alliance energy. Visit cleanpoweralliance.org or call 1-888-585-3788 for more information.

Carmen Ramirez, an Oxnard City Council member, and Christy Weir, a Ventura City Council member, sit on the Clean Power Alliance Board of Directors.

 

Alliance will provide clean, competitive energy, by Carmen Ramirez and Christy Weir, VC Star, January 12, 2019.

Six paths to 100% renewables for Los Angeles

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is evaluating six scenarios for the Los Angeles grid to reach 100% renewable or zero-carbon electricity by 2045 or sooner, and an advisory group is providing input. 

The “LA Leads” scenario, for example, would reach 100% zero-carbon electricity (including existing nuclear) by 2035—ten years earlier than state policy under California’s SB 100.  “LA Leads” would reach 100% renewables by 2045. 

The NREL study could give early insight regarding paths for California and other states to achieve their renewables and zero-carbon targets. 

The six scenarios generally begin after 2030, when the Los Angeles utility plans to reach 55% renewables in its electricity mix.  Key to the study’s cost projections will be the projected costs of renewables from 2030 onward.

The study will show how the flexibility to add transmission may reduce system cost, and will consider moderate and high levels of “load modernization”—that is, energy efficiency, demand response, and electrification of transport and heating.  Two scenarios will evaluate a high level of distributed generation.

All six 100% renewables scenarios specify increased “load modernization” beyond the Los Angeles utility’s current plans, which suggests that this strategy may be essential to reaching 100% renewables.  With increasing load modernization, increased electric vehicle charging is offset by increased efficiency, while the system gains flexibility from demand response. 

Regarding demand response, one participant in the June advisory group meeting said “this study should consider real-time pricing” of electricity—a measure that has since been proposed by solar and storage groups in California—but no response was recorded in the meeting minutes.  (Advisory group documents are available by searching “LADWP 100 renewable.”)

The effort is the first “comprehensive analysis of an electric grid as large and comprehensive as LA’s power system to reach 100% renewable energy,” according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), which is managing the advisory group process and overseeing the study. Fifty NREL staff members are working on various stages of the study.

The study’s main goal is to evaluate the options and tradeoffs between different approaches to realizing a 100% renewable power system, explained NREL’s Daniel Steinberg in a November advisory group presentation.  The study was launched by a unanimous vote of the Los Angeles City Council, which requested study assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy, which operates national labs including NREL.

 

The 100% renewable scenarios

The scenarios are shown in the blue columns in the chart below, while the reference cases are shown in green.  Elements that differ across scenarios are dark blue.  Technologies marked “Y” will be included only if they help achieve a least-cost solution for that scenario.  Two storage technologies are available to all scenarios: batteries, and “electricity to fuel” (e.g., hydrogen) matched with fuel cells.  Generation from biomass or biogas are options in all but one scenario.

Image source: PV Magazine

The “LADWP” reference case reflects the Los Angeles municipal utility’s most recent resource plan, while the “SB 100” plan, named after California’s renewables and zero-carbon law, would permit the use of tradable renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset continued use of natural gas. 

The completed study will indicate whether allowing added transmission results in cost savings.  That’s because “LA Leads,” which permits moderate added transmission, may be compared to the “High Distributed” scenario, which permits no additional transmission.  The two scenarios are otherwise identical in 2045, as “LA Leads” is 100% renewable by then.

Three scenarios will show the tradeoff between varying levels of distributed generation (DG) and added transmission.  Those comparisons, once the study is completed, would be “High Distributed” (high DG, no added transmission), versus “Load Modernization” (“balanced” DG, moderate added transmission), versus “Transmission Renaissance” (low DG, high added transmission). 

If the Western Interconnection region goes to a high level of renewables, Los Angeles may not be able to export and sell electricity at times of high renewable generation, because the entire region would likely have high renewable generation at those times.  This scenario is called “Western Initiatives.”

The sixth 100% renewables scenario, “Emissions Free,” would not permit biomass or biogas; if those technologies are cost-effective in other scenarios, this scenario will indicate the added cost of excluding them.  A seventh scenario, “High Load Stress”—where electrification is high but there is no increase in energy efficiency or demand response, stressing the grid—may never achieve 100% renewables; tradable RECs are permitted to achieve “100% net” renewables.

 

Computer models will run the numbers

Having defined the scenarios with input from the advisory group, NREL will now project the costs of each scenario, using a series of computer models, together with projected costs foreach generation and storage technology from NREL’s Annual Technology Baseline

Image source: PV Magazine

As the graphic indicates, NREL’s modeling of each scenario begins with a capacity expansion analysis, to establish a set of resources that can meet the projected demand for electricity.  The modeling of each scenario includes only those technologies that are permitted under the definition of the scenario. 

The capacity expansion analysis finds the optimal set of resources, considering added generation and storage, the level of transmission, and retirement of generating units.  NREL conducts this analysis based on hourly dispatch for four representative days within the year, using the models RPM, dGen and DISCO.  NREL will model utility-scale solar with the option to operate in “full flexibility” or “dispatchable” mode, which permits integrating more solarcost-effectively.  The modeling will also consider the option of “overbuilding” solar and accepting substantial curtailment—a strategy found to contribute to a least-cost long-run resource plan for Minnesota.  Year-round operating cost estimates are approximations at this stage.

NREL will use the PLEXOS model for the next step for each scenario: production cost modeling.  This step validates the capacity expansion results and projects the year-round cost of operating the selected generation and storage resources in a least-cost manner, considering dispatch at five-minute intervals throughout a 12-month period. 

Then NREL will conduct a power-flow analysis to identify any added capital investments needed to mitigate power-flow constraints and very short-term disruptions in the grid.

As indicated by the green and red arrows in the graphic above, the modeling may entail more than one iteration. 

NREL will project the system costs under each scenario.  Preliminary electric system results are due in September.  The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will then conduct a rate impact analysis, which will be reviewed by a rate payer advocate, with the results presented to the advisory group.

Here’s a flow chart for NREL’s process:

Image source: PV Magazine

 

Six paths to 100% renewables for Los Angeles, by William Driscoll, PV Magazine, January 10, 2019.

 

You might be one of the nearly 1 million people automatically enrolled in renewable energy plans Feb. 1

In the ’70s, it was not uncommon to be approached by free-spirited enviros wearing tie-dye shirts and Birkenstocks preaching the benefits of solar energy, getting off the grid and saving the planet.

Today, bureaucrats wearing suits working out of shared office space in Pershing Square soon will be offering almost 1 million residential customers in 29 cities and unincorporated communities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties a way to reduce their carbon footprint while keeping the lights on and air conditioners humming.

To reach 50 percent renewable energy, or if they prefer, 100 percent, residents in the CPA service area don’t have to install solar panels or buy a battery wall. They literally have to do nothing.

The Clean Power Alliance, a government-operated community electricity provider, will automatically enroll 950,000 residential customers in February and 100,000 businesses in May in green energy plans.

Within that service area, it will replace Southern California Edison, the investor-owned utility based in Rosemead and monopoly holder on electric power in Southern California.

“We are not asking you to ride a bike, take public transit or buy an electric car. Here with the flip of a switch or by doing nothing, people will be reducing their greenhouse gas footprint,” said Ted Bardacke, executive director of the Clean Power Alliance.

How it works

Just like choosing cable or streaming TV, electricity customers can pick from one of three CPA energy plans, each delivering electricity to their homes from portfolios containing varied amounts of clean energy, from 36 percent to 100 percent.

The CPA uses SCE’s transmission lines and sub-stations to deliver the power, and SCE still sends out the bills. But CPA buys all the energy and sets the rates.

Only the source of power changes, explained Diana Mahmud, a member of the South Pasadena City Council and chairwoman of the CPA board of directors.

— The Lean Power plan contains 36 percent renewable energy at rates 1-2 percent lower than SCE’s standard product, which includes between 32 percent and 34 percent renewable energy.

— Clean Power delivers 50 percent renewable energy at about the same rate or slightly lower.

— Green Power, labeled as “environmental champions,” delivers 100 percent renewable energy but at a rate about 9 percent higher than SCE’s base rate, Mahmud said.

Each city council and county board of supervisor has already chosen a default plan for their residents. Each resident is automatically enrolled in the designated plan but can switch to one of the the other options.

Also, a resident can elect to return to SCE for a small fee, Bardacke explained.

Most governmental bodies voted for the middle choice — Clean Power plan — that would bump up renewable energy 16 percent to 18 percent per household as compared to SCE’s base rate.

Cutting carbon footprint

“This is the easiest way for any individual to mitigate the impact of climate change,” Mahmud said. “We are trying to increase the pace at which our communities become sustainable.”

Most cities chose the 50 percent plan. Ten entities chose the Green Power/100 percent renewable plan.

They are: Culver City, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Rolling Hills Estates, South Pasadena, Ojai, Ventura, Oxnard, Thousands Oaks and unincorporated Ventura County, Bardacke said.

If all customers were to stick with their pre-designated plan, by the end of May, they would receive 66 percent of their electricity from renewables (mostly solar, wind and geothermal) and 78 percent carbon-free, Bardacke said.

“We could say your electricity-based carbon footprint would be cut in half,” he said. “If you are at our 100 percent green rate, your electricity-based carbon footprint would be zero.”

Part of the plan to slow down climate change is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and methane being released from electricity plants running on fossil fuels.

Climate change has been associated with longer droughts in California, fiercer wildfires and hotter temperatures. The changes have melted ice caps in the Arctic and caused rising sea levels, threatening coastal real estate.

The state mandates all utilities reach 60 percent renewable energy by 2030. CPA customers would get there 11 years earlier.

Mahmud said the agency’s very low overhead, combined with the plunging cost of solar and wind power, make it possible to procure more clean energy than the for-profit utilities while still offering rates comparable or cheaper than those of SCE.

Besides securing long-term contracts from renewable energy, such as large-scale solar utility projects in the Mojave Desert, the CPA is making deals with developers to build more clean energy power plants. It inked its first contract for wind energy on the Kern-LA County border in October, Bardacke said.

“If we keep getting good deals on long-term renewable energy contracts, we see the prices of such renewables continuing to be lower than our average cost of power,” he said.

Staying put

The CPA formed in 2017 as a result of a 2002 law and was formerly known as the Los Angeles Community Choice Energy.

Other community choice aggregation (CCA) entities include Lancaster, which formed its own CCA four years ago, followed more recently by Pico Rivera.

The city of Irvine is organizing a CCA for Orange County as is San Diego, Bardacke said.

Residents of cities with their own municipal utilities, such as Los Angeles, Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena and Azusa, cannot participate in a CCA .

Since last summer, the Clean Power Alliance has enrolled 34,000 businesses in unincorporated LA County and the two original cities, South Pasadena and Rolling Hills Estates.

Of those already enrolled, the opt-out rate is less than 1.5 percent, said Bardacke, who said more corporate businesses are inquiring how to join.

Former South Coast Air Quality Management District communications director Bill Kelly, who has served on the city’s Natural Resources and Environmental Commission, says residents are poised to pay a little more for 100 percent clean energy.

“I think people will largely accept it. In general, people seem supportive of this,” he said.

 

You might be one of the nearly 1 million people automatically enrolled in renewable energy plans Feb. 1, by Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, January 8, 2019.

How Los Angeles can use proofs of concept to lead California’s energy revolution

Back in September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that targets moving all of California’s electricity to clean power sources by 2045. It’s an ambitious goal and one that is definitely within reach if our utilities, power generators and legislators take the right steps to determine the most effective infrastructure updates and mix of energy sources and uncover the hidden challenges of a clean energy rollout.

Though more than 30 percent of L.A.’s power currently comes from renewables, the fact is that right now, L.A.’s energy grid is not in a place to achieve 100 percent clean power.

Our current renewable energy sources are not being used as efficiently as possible, which will be necessary if we are to use cost-effective measures to move to clean power over the next 30 years. The biggest issue: we have too much energy available when we don’t need it and not enough energy when we do.

With few places to store solar-produced energy, a dip in midday demand means that some of California’s solar power plants are being asked to turn off when they could be producing much-needed power. A lack of demand during the day or due to cooler weather combined with a lack of storage means that the plants must shut off or the excess energy could cause a blackout.

“That’s zero-carbon clean energy,” said Keith Casey, a vice president at the California Independent System Operator, in an interview with KQED. “It would just be a travesty to curtail large amounts of it.”

At the same time, our current renewable energy infrastructure is currently unable to provide all the power needed during peak demand hours, which is usually around 5-8 p.m., when the sun is setting and solar power generation declines. This phenomenon is known as the duck curve, or the steep rise in energy demand at the end of the day. This means that excess solar energy is not available when L.A. needs it most. Currently, that evening demand gap is being filled by natural gas power, which is not renewable and therefore not an option to meet the state’s 2045 goal.

To solve these complex problems, we almost certainly have to diversify our energy sources. Wind power may be the answer to replace our natural gas plants, but L.A. will have to create a reliable way to store its renewable energy and transmit it on the grid or it could face similar delivery problems as solar power does when wind levels fall.

It’s clear that over the next 30 years, L.A. must experiment with new technology and ideas to solve these problems. In these circumstances, the most effective way for the city to uncover the best path toward 100 percent renewables is a concept rooted in software development: a proof of concept (PoC).

This process of quickly testing a prototype to determine feasibility could save millions of dollars during the transition to renewables by helping L.A. discover which ideas are viable — and which aren’t — before full-scale investment. They can be used to test various ideas against each other or to iterate aspects of a proposed solution until it meets the city’s goals.

PoCs will become increasingly important as the digital side of renewable energy grows. Solutions powered by the internet of things, such as smart meters that track energy usage or smart grids that can ensure that the right amount of renewable power is available when needed, will likely be crucial in L.A.’s energy future.

These solutions represent a significant investment, and using PoCs to reduce the risk and time needed to roll out these ventures will be critical to enabling clean energy in time to meet Gov. Brown’s target date.

2045 may seem like a long way away, but with all the work to be done, it’s time for L.A. to start making these changes now.

L.A. should seek partners who can apply the PoC process to energy infrastructure as we transition to renewables. We’ve made great strides in improving our energy grid in recent years, but only by using PoCs and partners that can solve these issues will we meet our clean energy goals.

Joaquin Lippincott is the founder of Metal Toad, a software consultancy that has helped modernize software for industry leaders like Sony, Daimler, Intel, the Golden Globes, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, ABC, NBC, DC Comics, Warner Brothers and the Linux Foundation.

How Los Angeles can use proofs of concept to lead California’s energy revolution, by Joaquin Lippincott, Biz Journals Los Angeles, December 17, 2018.