Los Angeles abandons new natural gas plants in favor of renewables

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti attends a two-day summit of the C40 Cities initiative, a network of cities making plans to cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions along levels agreed upon in Paris two years ago, in Paris, France, October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

(Reuters) - Los Angeles will abandon a plan to replace three aging gas power plants along its coast with newer natural gas technology and will instead invest in renewable energy as it seeks to move away from fossil fuels, the city’s mayor said on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the city’s municipal utility, for years has been planning to modernize the Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor natural gas plants, in part because of a 2010 California law that power plants must stop using ocean water for cooling. The new, state-of-the art gas plants would have used air instead.

But Los Angeles, which has already moved to eliminate coal from its energy mix, must also abandon natural gas if it wants to meet its goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050, Mayor Eric Garcetti said. The natural gas units will be phased out by 2029, the city said.

“This is the beginning of the end of natural gas in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said in a statement. “The climate crisis demands that we move more quickly to end dependence on fossil fuel, and that’s what today is all about.”

In 2017, LADWP sourced a third of its power from natural gas plants, according to the California Energy Commission. The three coastal plants make up nearly 40 percent of that total, the city said. In the same year, the city sourced another third of its electricity from renewables like solar and wind.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Bernadette Baum