| LOS ANGELES, March 19
LOS ANGELES, March 19 The Los Angeles Department
of Water and Power, the nation's largest municipal-owned
utility, will eliminate its reliance on coal-fired power by
2025, the city's mayor said on Tuesday.
The effort comes as the utility is working to comply with
aggressive California laws aimed at reducing greenhouse gas
emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The LADWP had said last year
that state law effectively prohibited it from buying coal-fired
generation once its current contracts expire.
"The era of coal is over," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio
Villaraigosa said in a statement.
The LADWP currently receives 39 percent of its electricity
from two coal-fired plants: the Navajo Generating Station in
Arizona and Utah's Intermountain Power Project.
It plans to replace the power with increased energy
efficiency measures and renewable sources. California utilities
are required to source 33 percent of their power from renewable
sources by 2020. Renewables currently make up about 20 percent
of the utility's generation portfolio.
Whether LADWP customers see their rates go up is "an open
question," according to Evan Gillespie, western region deputy
director for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign.
The environmental group praised the move.
"It's not tomorrow, but 2025 is right around the corner,"
To free itself from its dependence on coal, the LADWP plans
to sell its 21 percent stake in the Navajo plant to another
owner, Salt River Project, ending its use of power from that
plant by the end of 2015. The plant's other owners include the
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Arizona Public Service, a unit of
holding company Pinnacle West Capital Corp ; Nevada
Energy and Tucson Electric Power, a subsidiary of
UniSource Energy Corp.
That 1970s-era plant, located on Navajo land, will continue
to operate without the LADWP. It faces several challenges,
however, including a retrofit proposal by the Environmental
Protection Agency that would require a $1.1 billion investment
in emissions controls. Its site lease and certain permits begin
expiring in 2019, though its owners reached a deal with the
Navajo Nation last month that could let it operate until 2044.
The Intermountain Power Project in Delta Utah, will be
rebuilt as a small natural gas power plant. The goal is also to
develop renewable energy sources that can use the transmission
lines that currently carry power from the IPP, which is owned by
23 Utah municipal utilities. That transition will start in 2020
and be completed no later than 2025, the LADWP said.