Creating a Clean Grid and an Independent Water Source for L.A.
By Carol Tucker
Demonstrating leadership in the fight against climate change, LADWP has accelerated its goals for reducing carbon from its power system and creating a more resilient and sustainable water supply that will be less susceptible to recurrent droughts.
During press conferences earlier this year, LADWP officials joined Mayor Eric Garcetti, members of the City Council, environmental leaders and community representatives, in announcing two game-changing initiatives that mark powerful steps forward to securing water independence and 100% clean energy for Los Angeles.
On February 12, 2019, LADWP announced it will not repower the existing ocean-cooled generating units at its three natural gas coastal power plants—Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor Generating Stations. Instead, LADWP will determine a viable path forward using clean energy alternatives, working through the 100% Renewable Energy Study (LA100) now underway. The goal is to achieve a carbon neutral power supply by 2050, while continuing to serve reliable power to our customers.
“L.A.’s local generation and transmission system was built in a different time and has served the city well. But now it’s time to re-imagine and reconfigure it. Our intention is to maintain reliability and affordability while we transition away from reliance on natural gas as quickly as possible,” said Mel Levine, president of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, during the press conference.
The new power initiative, Clean Grid L.A., will require a concerted team effort from staff across the Department to embark on a new path forward. Over the next year, the Power System, Office of Sustainability and other divisions will work collaboratively with the Mayor and City Council offices, the 100% Renewable Energy Study (LA100) Advisory Committee, energy technology experts and other stakeholders to develop a detailed and comprehensive plan.
Recycling 100% of City Wastewater
To build a more resilient water supply in the face of climate change, Mayor Garcetti, Councilmember Mike Bonin, LADWP and the Department of Public Works – Bureau of Sanitation (BOS) announced a regional, multi-agency effort to recycle 100% of the city’s wastewater supply by 2035. The plan will help achieve local water supply goals, including reducing imported water by 50% by 2025 and sourcing 70% of the city’s water locally by 2035.
LADWP is working with the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) and BOS to maximize the amount of recycled water produced at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant. The main components of the project include developing an advanced treatment facility and building the infrastructure to convey and replenish groundwater basins south of the Santa Monica Mountains with highly purified wastewater. Over time, the water will naturally purify as it percolates into the aquifer. From there, it would eventually be pumped out and treated to drinking water quality to augment the water supply.
“With the city committing to 100 percent recycled water at all four treatment facilities by 2035, LADWP will be able to source up to 70% of its water sustainably and locally.” said General Manager David H. Wright. “This announcement is a game changer when it comes to securing L.A.’s water future.”
The accelerated targets for a decarbonized grid and resilient local water supply are codified in L.A.’s Green New Deal – the 2019 Sustainable City pLAn announced by the Mayor in April.
LADWP teams from water and power with support for IT, Sustainability, Financial Services, and Communications, Media and Community Affairs are working closely with the Mayor’s office and City Councilmember offices to quickly convert the accelerated goals into concrete plans.
“Sometimes it takes a village. In this case, it will take everyone at LADWP working together to achieve new goals that will propel Los Angeles toward a more sustainable water supply and a clean energy future,” Wright said.