2017 Retiree Picnic: A Day of Fun and Fond Memories

By Kim Hughes
Photos by Art Mochizuki

As more than 640 attendees walked up to the registration table, a smiling Shirley Brown, president of the Employees Association, extended a hand and a warm welcome. It was the first Saturday in June, and this was the 2017 iteration of the annual LADWP Retiree Picnic at Whittier Downs Recreation Area.

Each year, retirees look forward to getting together to share fond memories and hug old friends. They come from around the corner and from thousands of miles away.  Gathered in one place were hundreds of years of knowledge, experience and LADWP history. What a special treat to be in the presence of such a group!

Maurice Doucette

Among the attendees was Maurice Doucette who had traveled the farthest—from New Orleans—to join the celebration.

Able Guarbiola

Able Guarbiola was honored as the retiree with the most years of service. Guarbiola spent 48 years working in LADWP’s Power System. He attended the picnic with his wife Dora, a retired employee of Kaiser Permanente.

“I really can’t say enough about LADWP — the Department has been so good to me” – Able Guarbiola

Guarbiola said that he didn’t really want to retire in 2016, as he enjoyed every day of working as an assistant programmer. He came to LADWP when Sam Yorty was Mayor, and after serving in the U.S. Army and Navy. As Guarbiolo and Dora went off to enjoy the delicious luncheon of hot dogs, tri-tip, chicken, rolls, popcorn, soft drinks and ice cream, a familiar face approached. Former Chief Chemist Tim Hemmings was celebrating the day.

Tim Hemmings

Though retired, Hemmings is still well known around LADWP, as he serves on the Retirement Board and has been an active member of LADWP’s Regional Science Bowl since its inception, where he acts as chief science judge. Hemmings shared that he retired in 1999 and that this was his 18th Retiree Picnic.

At the photo booth, a line snaked from the shady tent, and friends and family were lined up to capture a memory. As attendees took their poses, their photos were snapped and printed out as keepsakes.

Gene Conzano

Gene Conzano, who retired in 2015, says that he misses his work friends. As LADWP’s dedicated photographer Art Mochizuki snapped photos of Gene, he commented how much he appreciated Art taking photos at his retirement event. Having those mementos means the world to Gene.

Bobbie Ayears and Genevieve Kemp

It is often said that LADWP is a “family affair,” and that was evident by the many related employees that were part of the Retiree Picnic celebration. A perfect example of that are Bobbie Ayears and Genevieve Kemp. Together, the aunt and her niece represented 45 years of service to LADWP.

Icle David

Another special attendee was Icle David. At 97-years-young, David was the oldest retiree at the picnic. She joined LADWP in 1957, and shared that she had seen many changes during her time at the Department and beyond. She says that she has always been grateful for her job and the friends she made.

As the picnic was winding down and the final raffle prizes awarded, a shriek of glee could be heard as Anthony Reyes realized he was the winner of the Water and Power Credit Union’s prize of a family four-pack of movie tickets. The day had produced a number of lucky raffle prize winners.

Soon, goodbye hugs were given all around, and people gathered their belongings for their trips home. It was bittersweet to many to say goodbye, but there is always next year’s picnic.

2018 Retiree Picnic: Familiar Faces Reconnect

By Paola Adler

Reuniting for an annual tradition, LADWP retirees and their families attended the 65th Annual LADWP Retired Employee Picnic on June 2, 2018. About 540 people gathered at Legg Lake in Whittier Narrows Park to catch up with former colleagues, enjoy good food and play bingo and horseshoe. The event also included booths with information about health plans and the Water and Power Community Credit Union. A special feature this year was a display of classic and vintage automobiles.

Intake asked picnic attendees why they enjoy coming to the event each year, what they’ve been up to since retiring and whether they had any words of wisdom or advice on how to enjoy retirement.

Here’s what some of them had to say.

  • Name: Joyce Hunter
  • Year retired: 2018
  • Division/Team: Supply Chain Services
  • What she likes most about the picnic: “I like catching up with co-workers and talking about our families.”

  • Name: Angelito Reyes
  • Year retired: 2007
  • Division/Team: New Business Engineering
  • How to make the most of retirement: “Enjoy your time, get busy and entertain yourself.”

  • Asghar Mohajer
  • Year retired: 2014
  • Division/Team: Power Engineering
  • What he likes most about the picnic: “Seeing the people I worked with. I used to see them day in and day out, and they have become a part of my family.”

  • Name: Eddie Novasel (left) and wife Marge
  • Year retired: 1981
  • Division/Team: Worker’s Compensation
  • Activities since retirement: “Golfing and traveling all over the world.”

  • Name: Becky Chacon (left)
  • Year retired: 1998
  • Division/Team: Power System
  • Activities since retirement: “I worked for Whittier High School and then I traveled. My favorite places were Costa Rica, Panama, Cancun and Guatemala!”

  • Name: Bertha Paud (right)
  • Year retired: 1993
  • Division/Team: Management Information Services
  • What she likes most about the picnic: “Seeing friends like Becky – we worked on the same floor. LADWP was such a wonderful place to work. The food is good too!”

  • Name: Leon Murillo (center) and family
  • Year retired: 1998
  • Division/Team: Supply Chain Services
  • How to make the most of retirement: “Live one day at a time and enjoy yourself.”

  • Name: Janet Booth
  • Year retired: 1998
  • Division/Team: Power Operating and Maintenance
  • Activities since retirement: “Taking trips to Vegas and San Francisco. I also love going to Dodgers games and concerts!”

  • Name: Marilyn Washington
  • Year retired: 2013
  • Division/Team: Purchasing
  • What she likes most about the picnic: “Seeing all my friends that I worked with years ago.”

All photos by Art Mochizuki.

Preparing for the Big One with Biggest Earthquake-Proof Trunk Line

Construction Well Under Way on Major Water Pipeline Infrastructure Project in Northeast San Fernando Valley to Improve Water Reliability and Quality

By Albert Rodriguez
Communications, Media and Community Affairs

Over a century of faithfully delivering water and power requires major investment in replacing aging infrastructure to ensure reliability in light of evolving regulations, technology and the ever present threat of a natural disaster. That’s why LADWP is currently constructing the Foothill Trunk Line Unit 3, considered the longest, large-diameter earthquake resistant pipeline project in the nation. Situated in the Pacoima and Sylmar area, this $105 million project began construction in 2016 and is replacing a 1930s era, three-mile stretch of 24 to 36-inch pipeline along Foothill Boulevard.

Photo by Art Mochizuki

Trunk lines are supply pipelines greater than 20 inches in diameter that comprise the major arteries of the city’s important water delivery system. The trunk line along Foothill Boulevard transports water to the Sunland/Tujunga area of Los Angeles that spans a very significant and complex fault line that ruptured during the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake. By upgrading and increasing the size of the pipeline, this project will improve capacity, system flexibility and reliability in the event of another fault rupture.

Water Service Reliability

“The Foothill project is part of the Water System’s 10-Year Capital Improvement Program to maintain or replace existing infrastructure and construct new facilities with the latest materials and technology,” said Richard Harasick, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager – Water System. “Thanks to funding provided by the rate changes enacted in 2016, the Foothill Trunk Line ensures that LADWP fulfills its mission to provide reliable, high quality water to our customers for decades to come.”

The majority of the new revenues are earmarked for infrastructure improvements and water quality projects, including those required to meet water quality standards and for Owens Valley dust mitigation measures. The remaining new revenues will go toward expanding the local water supply, which includes recycled water, stormwater capture, and groundwater remediation.

Flexing Iron

Construction on Foothill includes four miles of earthquake resistant ductile iron pipe (ERDIP) – two miles of 54-inch diameter transmission trunk line and two miles of 12-inch diameter ERDIP distribution line installed in parallel from Paxton Street to Hubbard Street. The ERDIP pipe used in the project is provided by the Kubota Corporation of Tokyo, Japan, which pioneered the technology. Kubota has been supplying earthquake resistant ductile iron pipes to construction projects for nearly 45 years. The patented pipe is segmented, much like a chain, able to accommodate seismic forces and movement by expanding, contracting and flexing to absorb ground movement without leaking or rupturing. It allows 1 percent axial movement in tension and compression and up to eight degrees of rotation.

Prior to the Foothill Trunk Line project, LADWP had implemented an earthquake pipe pilot project at five other locations throughout the city’s vast water system. A total of 2.5 miles (13,600 feet) of ERDIP was installed in the East Valley, West Valley, Central, Western and Harbor areas of the city. One of those early projects was strategically installed near Northridge Hospital, taking into consideration its proximity to the 1994 Northridge Earthquake epicenter. The end goal is to install a total of 14 miles of earthquake resistant pipe by 2020 as part of a seismic resilient pipe network throughout the city.

Photo by Art Mochizuki

Safety Best Practices

Construction on the Foothill project has presented many challenges that have been handled effectively and safely by our construction crews. The three-mile construction route begins on Terra Bella Street in Pacoima and continues northwest on Foothill Boulevard to Hubbard Street in Sylmar. Construction is divided into 19 distinct work areas. Each work area is approximately 700 to 1,200 feet in length and construction duration ranges between four and ten months. In order to ensure the safety of the public and construction crews, temporary lane reductions and parking restrictions near the work areas were required. A launching pit and receiving pit were placed on both sides of major intersections in order to install the pipe underground, allowing for the continuous flow of cross traffic at major intersecting streets. To minimize impacts to the community, a new 12-inch diameter distribution water mainline was installed alongside the 54-inch diameter pipeline in the same trench. The new mainline separated the water serving the local community from the new pipeline transporting large amounts of water to the Sunland/Tujunga area.

“We have carried out construction in carefully sequenced phases so as not to disrupt the many businesses lining the street,” said Clemente Valdovinos, civil engineering associate and construction engineer for the Foothill Trunk Line Unit 3 Project. “Our in-house Trunk Line Construction crew has been doing an incredible job, quickly learning and understanding the logistics of earthquake resistant ductile iron pipe installation while keeping the project on schedule.”

Open trench construction will continue through 2021, with tunneling is scheduled from 2020 through 2024. With approximately 500 miles of trunk lines in the water system, it’s no easy task balancing the long-term infrastructure needs of the Water System with the immediate needs of the community. With aging infrastructure and reliability challenges imminent, LADWP must and will take the necessary steps required in order to continue providing the best possible water service to our customers. The crews working on the Foothill Trunk Line today are laying the groundwork and modeling the best practices for successful future projects to come.

(Featured photo by Art Mochizuki)

Learn More

Foothill Trunk Line Project

Science Bowl Regional Champs Make L.A. Proud, Winning 2nd Place in National Contest

By Walter Zeisl and Paola Adler

LADWP Science Bowl regional champion North Hollywood High School took second place at the 28th Annual U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl after two days of intense competition in Washington D.C. The group of five students faced 65 teams from all over the U.S. to claim their runner-up prize. Their May 1, 2018 victory on marks the ninth time that the school has placed first through fifth at the national level throughout their 25 years of participation in the program.

“This is a tremendous achievement for North Hollywood High School winning their fifth second place trophy. We are so proud of the hard working science scholars who demonstrated that they are not only among the best and brightest high school students in Los Angeles, but in the nation,” said LADWP General Manager David Wright.  “They represented our city and LADWP well. Our hats are off to these amazing students.”

Team wins its fifth, second-place trophy.


North Hollywood High School team members and coaches: (from L) head coach Altair Maine, Albert Liu, Alex Ke, Richard Shuai, Dohyun Cheon, Dominick Joo and assistant coach Leonard Soloff, assistant coach. (Photos courtesy of National Science Bowl®, Department of Energy, Office of Science)

Held annually in Washington, D.C., the weekend of competition included participation by U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. Teams also attended lectures and demonstrations from top scientists and visited Washington, D.C. monuments and museums. In addition to their trophy, the team won a seven-day science research trip to Alaska sponsored by the DOE Office of Science. They were also awarded $1,000 for winning their division in the preliminary round robin tournament.

To qualify for the national competition, the North Hollywood High School team won the 2018 LADWP Science Bowl 25th Annual Regional Competition in February. The victory marked the school’s 19th regional title in the last 21 years.

Science Bowl is a proud LADWP tradition and an example of our organization’s commitment to the Los Angeles educational community. “We support Science Bowl each year because it’s a program that challenges and molds the next generation of science leaders,” said George Rofail, assistant director of Customer Service. “It’s rewarding to see one of our local teams succeed and become the second best in the country.”

Want to see the award-winning team in action? A 60-minute television program, covering the final two rounds of this year’s regional Science Bowl competition.

View the video.


Longest Power System Underground Transmission Line Completed

By Deborah Hong

LADWP has completed a major underground transmission project to improve power reliability for dense Westside communities.

Scattergood-Olympic Cable A Transmission Project, a critical piece of the Department’s plan to replace aging power infrastructure, features the city’s longest underground transmission cable at 11.4 miles. The cable is more than 6 inches in diameter and weighs 35 pounds per foot. The $130 million transmission line begins in West Los Angeles and runs south to past Westchester, and serves communities along that corridor as well as those as far north as the Pacific Palisades. It also connects to the citywide high-voltage transmission grid, ensuring reliable electric service for millions of Angelenos.

“This project and other transmission line upgrades are critical parts of transforming L.A.’s power supply and rebuilding our aging power grid infrastructure so that we can effectively deliver increasing amounts of renewable power to our valued customers,” said Reiko Kerr, Senior Assistant General Manager of Power System Engineering, Planning, and Technical Services.


The new transmission line is an addition to the original line which began commercial service in 1974 and had been experiencing reliability issues. The original line will be used a backup, should it be needed. With the completion of Scattergood-Olympic Cable A, power system reliability for western Los Angeles has been enhanced with improved system flexibility. It also allows for more efficient use of power generation resources, including LADWP’s Scattergood Generation Station.

Stretching from Scattergood Generating Station near LAX to the Olympic Receiving Station in West LA, the Scattergood-Olympic Cable A line operates at 230 kilovolts (kV) and can transfer 656 megavolt amperes (MVA). The cable is connected through underground vaults that are located less than half a mile apart, which reduced the cost of installation and will improve reliability.


Employees celebrate completion of the Scattergood-Olympic line on September 26, 2018. (Photo by Chris Corsmeier)

The project began in 2008, and constructing the line was no small feat. Under the leadership of Kishan Kasondra, project manager in the Power System’s Major Projects and Project Management section, the project was a great example of excellent cooperation and communication. As the line runs along several busy corridors in western Los Angeles, completing the project required close coordination with multiple agencies, including Caltrans, the Federal Aviation Administration, Coastal Commission, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, Los Angeles Council District 11, five neighborhood councils and the City of Culver City.

One of the biggest tasks the project team faced was installing the cable across the Lincoln Bridge through Ballona Creek, which required the completion of a thorough two-year study for the permit to be approved. “The team worked hard and found solutions to some interesting challenges,” said Kasondra.

(Top photo by Art Mochizuki)

Benedict Canyon Water Pipe Replaced Ahead of Schedule

By Michael Ventre

A major pipeline replacement project to improve water reliability was completed well ahead of schedule , putting the popular Benedict Canyon Drive back in business two months earlier than planned. The project was completed in September 2018 – two months early – because of a well-coordinated effort involving LADWP Water System staff working in partnership with the office of Councilmember Paul Koretz (5th District) and other City of Los Angeles agencies. The efficient work is expected to an estimated $1.8 million.

Constructed by LADWP’s Western District crews, the project replaced 5,200 feet of pipeline that had been originally installed in the 1960s with new 12-inch steel pipeline along Benedict Canyon Drive, south of Mulholland Drive to Hutton Drive, as well as a new 8-inch steel pipeline along Liebe Drive. Four new fire hydrants were also installed. This project will increase water system reliability in the area and improve the existing fire protection capabilities.

“We are very pleased that this challenging project went smoothly and was completed sooner than anticipated,” LADWP General Manager David H. Wright said. “It is a tribute to the dedication and professionalism of everyone involved, but it is also due to the patience and understanding demonstrated by local residents, commuters and community leaders during the construction period.”

The effort began in early 2018 with outreach to the local community to solicit feedback on issues involving traffic and local access, spearheaded by LADWP’s Water Distribution Division and members of the Communications, Media and Community Affairs and Marketing and Economic Development teams. The project was then tailored to address that feedback and to accommodate the needs of the local community and motorists, which included the placement of LADWP Security Services Officers and traffic control officers at several locations in Benedict Canyon and neighboring Deep Canyon to manage traffic in and around the project area.

The Benedict Canyon project is part of LADWP Water System’s efforts to upgrade the infrastructure throughout its service area. LADWP operates and maintains over 7,300 miles of water transmission and distribution pipes. LADWP’s goal is to replace all pipes as they near the end of their expected lifespan.

As part of the Water System’s strategic plan, almost 250 miles of pipe have been replaced since 2006. Distribution pipe replacement will increase for the next five years to 300,000 feet in 2023.

New Attic Insulation Rebate Helps Customers Save Energy and Money

By Albert Rodriguez

Continuing our mission of putting customers first, LADWP offers a new rebate program to help our customers save energy and reduce their electric bill.

In August 2018, LADWP and Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a five-year, $100 million attic insulation rebate program that will help Angelenos save about 80 percent of the cost of the materials and labor to install attic insulation, up to $1 per square foot. It is the latest addition to a roster of rebates offered through LADWP’s Consumer Rebate Program, which has invested nearly $531 million in energy savings since 2013. As of November 15, 2018, 499 applications for the attic insulation rebate program have been received.

The attic insulation rebate program is expected to help Angelenos save between $200 and $375 per year on their electric bills, or 15 to 30 percent in average annual cooling and heating expenses. Available to all LADWP customers in a detached single family or multi-residential home, such as a duplex, the rebate subsidizes the cost of materials and other expenses that are required to install the insulation. Insulation, especially in an attic, allows for cool air from an air conditioner to spread more evenly, keeping living environments cooler for longer periods of time. Insulation has the opposite effect in the winter by working to keep heat indoors. Participating homeowners can expect temperature fluctuations to drop to 3 degrees or less, resulting in reduced costs for air-conditioning or heating.

“Many of our customers overlook attic insulation as one of the easiest ways to save money on their electric bill. With this new rebate, we are making it more affordable for our customers to make their homes more energy efficient for years to come,” said LADWP General Manager David H. Wright. “We encourage all of our customers to explore this and the many other money-saving programs and rebates offered by LADWP.”

Eligible insulation types include blanket (batts and rolls), loose-fill, blown-in, attic-applied foam board or rigid foam, sprayed foam, and foamed-in-place insulation systems. Rebates are available to customers regardless of whether they hire a contractor or do it themselves.

Multiple LADWP personnel collaborated on the launch of the new rebate program. The Efficiency Solutions team within the Office of Sustainability developed the program’s financial and engineering parameters, such as rebate amounts, efficiency requirements and allowable insulation types. The Customer Service Division’s Customer Program Management team is implementing and managing the program. The Communications, Media and Community Affairs Division as well as the Marketing and Economic Development Division are working to promote the program to customers.

Since 2013, LADWP has made nearly $531 million in energy-saving investments through customer programs and rebates. Together, these investments have conserved 2,065 GWh of electricity, which is enough to power 345,000 homes for a year, and equivalent to removing 170,000 gasoline-fueled cars from our roads.

Learn more about our Energy Efficiency Programs.

(Photo by Chris Corsmeier)

Get a Share of Solar Power! Pilot Program Will Help Renters Go Solar

By Carol Tucker

LADWP is preparing to launch a new community solar program that will allow residential customers living in multifamily dwellings (apartments, condominiums, duplexes) to participate in L.A.’s thriving solar economy as well as fix a portion of their electric bill against rising utility costs.

Recognizing that a large segment of the city’s population is unable to benefit from solar power, the LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners had approved the pilot program in September 2018. The pilot Shared Solar Program stems from LADWP’s Equity Metrics Data Initiative, which identified the need to expand the benefits of solar to renters as well as improve the geographic solar diversity in Los Angeles, bringing clean energy to more vulnerable communities.

Expected to launch in the first quarter of 2019, the program will bring the economic and environmental benefits of this clean sustainable resource to customers who live in multifamily buildings and cannot participate in traditional solar programs. To broaden the geographic equity of local solar projects, the solar power will come in part from new projects built by LADWP in areas identified as having a lack of installed solar. These include economically disadvantaged communities as well as those designated by the city as “Clean Up Green Up” neighborhoods—Pacoima-Sun Valley in the East San Fernando Valley, Boyle Heights near downtown, and Wilmington in the Harbor area. If green-lighted by the City Council, LADWP expects to launch the program in January 2019.

How It Works

Eligible customers will be able to purchase blocks of solar power—up to 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month—at a 10-year fixed rate. LADWP has committed to providing up to 10 megawatts (MW) of solar power under the pilot program. LADWP will build new local solar on rooftops of LADWP and City-owned buildings, parking lots, and other structures. Part of the solar power for the program will also come from a large-scale 90 MW solar project due to be completed in 2019 in the Mojave Desert.

“Los Angeles is already America’s No. 1 Shining City, and now thousands more Angelenos will be able to enjoy the benefits of solar power,” said Mel Levine, president of the LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners. “At the same time, the program will help us achieve the Sustainable City pLAn local solar goals and our aggressive renewable energy targets.”

The Shared Solar Pilot Program the first step.  LADWP is carving out a reduced rate for Shared Solar to make it affordable for income-qualified and disadvantaged customers. Toward that end, LADWP is working with community partners to obtain external funding, such as grants, to offset the cost of a discounted low-income rate. The Shared Solar program was crafted to be revenue neutral for non-participants, so that the proposed rate covers the cost of procuring, building, operating, and maintaining the solar projects along with program administration.

Shared Solar is part of LADWP’s umbrella of Community Solar Programs. In 2017, LADWP launched the first Community Solar Program, the pilot Solar Rooftop Program (SRP), which also prioritizes customers who reside in areas of low solar penetration.

Learn More

Shared Solar Pilot Program

Beacon of Light: Solar Plant Shines in Mojave Desert

First Grid-Scale Battery Gets Connected at Solar Facility

By Carol Tucker
Communications, Media and Community Affairs

LADWP’s first utility-scale solar-plus-battery system is shining brightly in the Mojave Desert. As the Beacon Solar Plant converts the sun’s rays to 250 megawatts (MW) of solar power for Los Angeles, the Beacon Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) is working in tandem to ensure a reliable flow of this clean, sustainable energy resource to the city’s residents and businesses.

Steve Taylor, Sr. Electrical Craft Helper, works on solar array. (Photo by Chris Corsmeier)

The Beacon Solar Plant, located just north of Cantil, Calif., is a state-of-the art solar power facility featuring 903,434 panels on single-axis trackers that follow the sun in the early morning and late afternoon hours for maximum operational efficiency. When operating at full capacity, Beacon produces enough renewable solar energy to serve 102,667 Los Angeles homes, and offset emissions of about 313,311 metric tons of CO2 annually from fossil fuel power plants. That amount of avoided greenhouse gas emissions is like removing 67,117 gas-fueled vehicles from highway every year.  The plant was fully energized in December 2017.

Beacon Battery Fast-Tracked

The Beacon BESS, which was fast-tracked and commissioned in October 2018, is able to store over 20 MW of renewable energy, running at full power for 30 minutes. Its main function is to stabilize and regulate solar voltage levels, which fluctuate because of cloud cover, to smooth the interconnection with LADWP’s nearby switching station and transmission highway. Essentially, this enhances the reliability of the solar power flowing to L.A. along the LADWP’s Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project (BRRTP) from the Mojave Desert to the terminus in Sylmar. From there the energy is distributed throughout the city. The BESS can also store up solar power for use later in the day to help meet peak demand.

“The Mojave Desert averages 260 days a year of sunshine, but the sun doesn’t shine all day. We need to provide reliable, affordable electricity to our customers 24/7/365,” said Reiko Kerr, Senior Assistant General Manager of Power System Engineering, Planning and Technical Services. “The Beacon BESS helps keep the power on sustainably and cleanly, working in tandem with the Beacon Solar Power Plant and our ever growing portfolio of grid-scale renewables projects to maintain capacity.”

The Beacon BESS now stabilizes and stores energy from Beacon Solar Plant in the Mojave Desert. (Photo by Chris Corsmeier)

In addition to Beacon, LADWP has power purchase agreements for solar generated by the 260 MW Springbok Solar Projects 1 and 2, and the 60 MW RE Cinco Solar Project, all completed in 2016. Construction is underway on a third phase of Springbok, which will generate 90 MW when completed in early 2019. Adding to the robust renewable resources, LADWP continues to own and operate its 135 MW Pine Tree Wind Farm and 8.5 MW Pine Tree Solar Plant in the nearby Tehachapi Mountains.

Andrew C. Kendall, Senior Assistant General Manager of Power System Construction, Maintenance and Operations, praised LADWP crews for designing and constructing all of the electrical infrastructure work on time and within budget. “We worked closely with the developers to get the interconnections done and successfully complete test phases with the Energy Control Center to bring this solar power smoothly into our system,” Kendall said.

Reliability Challenge

As LADWP seeks to bring more renewable energy onto the electrical grid, one of the hottest issues is how to continue providing reliable electric service to customers, especially during late afternoon and early evening when energy use rises and darkness falls.

Renewable Energy Rising:
LADWP is on track to meet the next state legislated renewable portfolio standard (RPS) targets of 33 percent by 2020 and 60 percent by 2030. Looking forward, LADWP is studying raising that target further—to 70 percent by 2036—under the Department’s accelerated greenhouse gas reduction plan.

“We bring electricity to our customers 24/7. Solar obviously gathers energy during the daylight only. That means we have to put something in place that helps close the gap, especially during those peak hours,” said Tom Honles, Manager of Major Solar Transmission and Distribution Projects. “That’s why we’re looking at energy storage.”

Typically, the gap created when solar panels stop producing power as the sun sets, and energy demand peaks beginning in late afternoon, is mostly bridged by efficient use of natural gas fuel at LADWP’s in-basin generating stations. These natural gas generators are designed to provide “dispatchable” power that can ramp up quickly and maintain reliability.

However, as LADWP works to reduce fossil fuel power, the Department is developing new battery energy storage projects to offset the need for natural gas generation. Whenever a large amount of solar energy is placed on the grid, the natural fluctuations of solar can create issues with grid electrical stability.

Siting the BESS next to the Beacon Solar Plant helps address those issues in three ways, Honles said. “First, the BESS is a powerful means of keeping the electrical frequency steady, and complying with standards set by the federal government. Second, it will store energy, so we can put that solar onto our grid when the sun is not shining. Third, it will help us to control voltage levels on the transmission lines connecting the solar facilities to Los Angeles, increasing reliability,” Honles said.

The Beacon BESS will help LADWP meet its target of 178 MW of new energy storage by 2021, as set forth in AB 2514, which allows local governing bodies, such as the Los Angeles City Council and the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, to establish energy storage targets for their public power utility.

(Photo by Chris Corsmeier)

LADWP’s La Kretz Innovation Campus: Meet the Cleantech Future of Water and Power

By Christina Holland
Communications, Media and Community Affairs

When you think of Downtown Los Angeles, what comes to mind? Innovation? Clean technology? L.A.’s green economy? Probably not, but it should.

More than eight years ago, in what was once a neglected part of Los Angeles, a four-mile strip of industrial-zoned business development was emerging along the Los Angeles River, and it was nicknamed the Cleantech Corridor. While it may not have achieved the status of a second Silicon Valley, a cleantech vibe is most certainly developing in what is now considered the Downtown Arts District.

The La Kretz Innovation Campus, located in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District, is home to the one of the world’s leading Cleantech incubators and LADWP’s Customer Engagement Lab and Sustainable Living Lab.

At its hub, you’ll find LADWP’s La Kretz Innovation Campus (LKIC), named after Morton La Kretz, a local real estate developer whose philanthropic efforts helped launch the campus. La Kretz is home to LADWP’s Sustainable Living and Customer Engagement Labs, and the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a place where entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists and policymakers can collaborate, promote, and support the development of clean technologies and L.A.’s green economy.

Officially launched in October of 2016, LKIC is already making its mark locally and around the globe. For starters, it is the first facility of its kind in which an incubator is housed in the same building as the R&D labs of a major utility. Then, you have the building itself. Originally a furniture manufacturing warehouse, the building’s refurbishment plan was carefully orchestrated so it could stand as an example of best practices for other builders who are committed clean technology and a green economy.

Sustainable Energy & Water Features

“The La Kretz Innovation Campus has some unique features that help it qualify for the LEED Silver distinction. But we wanted more than that, so our Efficiency Solutions Engineering Team stepped in to add a few additional emerging tech features, such as a greywater system and a microgrid to help the facility apply for the highest LEED status,” said Terry Brungard, LADWP Efficiency Solutions engineering supervisor and project team leader. LEED provides the world’s premier green building rating system and certifies buildings on based on resource efficiency. “Now, not only are we on track for LEED’s Platinum rating, we have a building for future innovators, a living demonstration lab where every part is a learning experience,” Brungard added.

Brungard isn’t exaggerating. Even the parking lot educates visitors with its low-profile bioswale collecting run-off water and solar panels generating up to 1,000 kilowatt-hours per day. Enter the building and it just keeps going.

The beautiful reception area is equipped with the obligatory comfy seats and charging outlets, but it has something most lobbies don’t: a living wall–a daily reminder that La Kretz is all about ensuring a sustainable future.


Continue through to the Sustainable Living Lab and you’ll run into LADWP’s microgrid, a small on-site energy control system that manages the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), the use of grid supplied power and the use of the on-site solar power, which is a distributed energy resource. The microgrid at La Kretz is powered by the city’s electric grid and from its onsite 175 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system, which generates clean, renewable energy while also charging the energy storage system located within the facility.

Ultimately, this framework provides economic benefits by using stored energy and solar energy to reduce the campus’s demand on the L.A. power grid. The microgrid’s BESS project is also a test case to determine the reliability, safety and cost-effectiveness of energy storage systems, working together with solar, for future use in the larger citywide power grid. Recently, the La Kretz microgrid was recognized as a 2017 Project Excellence Award winner by the National Electrical Contractors Association.

Case Study Home

Next door to the microgrid is LADWP’s Case Study Home, a hands-on experience featuring some of the latest appliances and technologies available to consumers. Visitors can use the refrigerator’s touch screen for fun as well as for practical purposes. Need some mood music for a small dinner party or the score from today’s game? This fridge has an app for that. Need help managing your food budget? Do you ever buy too much or toss spoiled food? Your fridge has an app for that too.

Without even opening the door, you can take advantage of your smart fridge’s features to keep track of what food you have in stock and what is about to spoil, then sync it all to your phone. Not only does this save time and money, it saves energy by cutting down on the number of times you open the fridge’s door.

Continue touring the Case Study Home and you’ll start thinking about how to morph your own place into the home of the future. Among other things, you’ll see a dimmable skylight and a smart thermostat you can control from anywhere on the planet. You’ll see that in a smart home, everything is connected. In the age of the “internet of things,” all kinds of smart devices are connected in cyberspace and you can easily control them all through an app on your phone.

“The Department is looking at all smart technologies, meaning Wi-Fi connected, that allow our customers to control their appliances remotely so they can save on their water and power usage even when they aren’t home,” said Dale Thompson, Efficiency Solutions engineering supervisor. “But smart devices can have a wider application and benefit. For example, with a customer’s prior consent, the Department will one day be able to help manage a resident’s energy load by simply sending a control signal to shut off certain large appliances during periods of high energy demand. He added, “One smart home can serve as a learning tool. Thousands of smart homes could be a real asset to our distribution system.”

(From Left) Dale Thompson, Mark Fernandes, and James Kemper of Efficiency Solutions Engineering Group and La Kretz Labs worked closely on designing the Case Study Home, researching and installing its energy efficient, high-tech measures.

All of this is happening in just half of the cleantech campus. Walk across the hall to the LACI side of campus and you’ll be among the 42 active portfolio companies who are hard at work developing, nurturing, and releasing to market their cleantech innovations. Residing under the same roof as the nation’s largest municipal utility gives these startups an opportunity to demo their wares to LADWP staff who can evaluate their future applications and relevance for the Department and our customers.

Recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI Global, a Swedish-based data and advisory firm specializing in mapping and highlighting the world of business incubation, LACI identifies local entrepreneurs across multiple cleantech business sectors and guides them to market, creating jobs that advance L.A.’s green economy. In just five years, LACI has helped 67 companies raise $135 million in funding, created 1,500 jobs, and delivered more than $335 million in long term economic value for the city of Los Angeles.

(Top photo by Art Mochizuki)

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La Kretz Innovation Campus