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LOS ANGELES – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today joined environmental, business, and labor leaders in front of the Occidental Solar Array project to sign two city ordinances that approve large long-term solar power purchasing contracts for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Together, the agreements will provide 460 megawatts of clean solar power to Los Angeles.
“These solar contracts are proof positive that environmental progress and economic growth go hand-in-hand,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “It is high time Los Angeles kicked its addiction to dirty coal energy and I am proud we are setting an example for a successful, cost-efficient transition to renewable energy.”
Since taking office in 2005, Mayor Villaraigosa has prioritized tackling local environmental problems and minimizing Los Angeles’ contribution to global climate change. As the largest municipally owned utility in the country, LADWP provides Los Angeles with a unique opportunity to spearhead the use of clean energy. The Mayor successfully led the department to increase its renewable energy use to 20% by 2010 and set new goals of 25% renewable power by 2016 and 33% by 2020.
"The K Road and Copper Mountain 3 projects, along with a proposed LADWP-owned property that will support a solar project in the California High Desert and the City Solar Feed-in-Tariff Program, will represent over 8.5% of the total renewable energy goal of 33% by 2020," said LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols. "These are among the largest solar projects of any public utility in the nation and a major step forward in our efforts to secure more renewable energy in a cost effective manner."
The Mayor approved a 25-year contract with K Road Moapa Solar, LLC (K Road) for up to 250 megawatts of power, representing about 706,650 megawatt-hours – enough energy to power about 118,000 Los Angeles households. LADWP will be the sole recipient of solar power from K Road, which will be located on Moapa Band of Paiute Indians tribal land north of Las Vegas.
"Mayor Villaraigosa's announcement today that the city of Los Angeles will be purchasing solar power from the Moapa band of Paiutes promotes environmental justice and also sets a strong example for how American cities can help defeat climate disruption,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. “The Sierra Club applauds the Mayor for his leadership and bold action to move L.A. beyond the dirty fuels at the root of our climate crisis, and we urge President Obama and our leaders in Congress to take similar action to invest in clean energy sources like solar and wind."
He also approved a second agreement for 210 megawatts of power from the 250-megawatt Copper Mountain Solar 3 project, which will be developed by an affiliate of Sempra U.S. Gas and Power and is located near Boulder City, Nevada. The Copper Mountain Solar project will provide enough power to serve 75,000 Los Angeles homes.
“Once again Los Angeles is demonstrating leadership in promoting a clean energy economy,” said Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council. "Through these contracts and programs like the new Feed-in-Tariff to be launched early next year, the LADWP is spurring private sector investment, creating jobs, and helping reduce Los Angeles’ carbon footprint."
These two contracts are part of the LADWP’s larger solar portfolio, which has expanded in the past year to include the 250 megawatt Adelanto solar array and the groundbreaking future 150 megawatt Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) program. Taken all together, the LADWP is in a position to provide enough green energy annually to serve approximately 331,000 Los Angeles households.
"The Moapa project shows that the City and the DWP are taking leadership on the environmental front, but also making it a priority to create good jobs and have a positive effect on the communities they impact – whether here in Los Angeles or in Nevada," said Jessica Goodheart, Director of RePower LA.
Long reliant on coal power, the two agreements move LADWP further away from dependence on fossil fuels and toward cleaner, more sustainable and renewable energy sources. In the next decade, LADWP will completely replace over 70% of its power supply to eliminate coal through a combination of increasing energy efficiency [to replace at least 10% of the city’s power demand], expanding renewable energy to 33% by 2020, completely eliminating the use of ocean water cooling at its three coastal power plants, and balancing the new energy mix with cleaner and more efficient natural gas, all while maintaining system reliability.