The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) operates with an annual generating capacity of over 7,460 MW from the following sources: 23% renewable, 17% natural gas, 10% nuclear, 4% large hydroelectric, 42% coal. The utility operates 19 generation plants, four within LA city limits, and currently receives nearly half of its total electrical supply form out of state. LADWP has 1,500 MW of installed electric storage at the Castaic Pumped Storage Facility near Castaic Lake (22 miles north of LA City). Natural gas storage sites such as Aliso Canyon supply natural gas for LADWP’s gas powered plants. The city receives 1% of its total electrical supply from installed solar capacity.
Operating with a customer base 3.9 million (1.4 million in LA City), and annual operating budget of $3.9 billion. LADWP maintains 465 sq.mi. of service area, 8,800 employees, 6,800 miles of overhead transmission lines, 162 distributing stations, 21 receiving stations, and over 50,000 substructures. As one would expect, LADWP is in a constant and ongoing state of infrastructure, supply, and capacity upgrade. 8% of gross operating revenue (estimated at $265.6 million in FY 2014-15) is transferred to the City General Fund each year.
LADWP’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) calls for 35% of Los Angeles’ power supply to come from renewable sources by 2020. In addition, the RPS phases out coal-fired power by 2025, increases renewable purchase agreements, prioritizes the development of utility-owned renewable generation plants, and calls for efficiency upgrades, micro-grid investment, economic stimulus for clean tech industries, and conservation. A transition to intermittent/periodic renewable power sources requires system-wide upgrades to an aging grid as well as new electrical, thermal, and mechanical storage infrastructure. While Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn calls for an increase in distributed residential solar, distributed power does not appear to be a key part of LADWP’s immediate strategy.
Notable problematics relating energy supply and storage to land use regulation include: hazard proximity in existing gas-fired plants, natural-gas storage facilities, and oil and gas extraction sites; mismanagement of shared natural resources such as air, water, oil, gas, and solar; lack of a central frameworks to address land use issues in residential, community aggregate, and utility scale solar siting, leading to an dis-equal distribution of solar infrastructure and associated incentives across economic and racial demographics; lack of land use frameworks for the development of new modes of renewable energy production and storage, and; inadequate supply of open land for safe industrial siting. If left unchecked or managed badly, such problematics may lead to a variety of serious adverse consequences including new hazardous proximities, transmission inefficiencies, transitional delays, inequity, and protracted dependence on hydrocarbon combustion for energy generation.