Southern California Activities

CEERT continues our long-time work to reduce Southern California’s dependence on fossil-fueled power and increase its reliance on clean energy resources. In addition to our regulatory advocacy to promote renewable energy and the building of a low-carbon grid for the region, we are particularly focusing on Los Angeles and the Imperial Valley.


Recent Developments:

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)

CEERT’s Jim Caldwell and Liz Anthony Gill have been active members of the Public Advisory Committee for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP’s) study, which NREL is conducting, of how to get to 100% clean energy, and a separate study by Navigant on options for dealing with the repowering or retirement of LADWP’s three remaining in-Basin gas-fired power plants. These plants are scheduled to be retired between 2024 and 2029, and there is strong environmental and community pressure not to invest $4 billion in gas infrastructure as a first step in moving to 100% clean energy.

Over the past several months, V. John White and Jim Caldwell have had numerous meetings with LADWP’s senior management and Board of Commissioners to share experiences and ideas about how to minimize the need for the gas repowers, while recognizing the challenges the Department will have to face. Key suggestions include expanding transmission to allow imported renewables from the north and east, and integrating demand response, thermal and battery storage, energy efficiency, and distributed solar with plans to decarbonize buildings and electrify the Port of Los Angeles and the LAX airport.

In February, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti made the surprise announcement that he was directing LADWP to abandon plans to repower the in-Basin gas. Jim Caldwell and Liz Anthony Gill were in LA that day for a meeting with LADWP senior staff, and they had a lively discussion with the DWP team, who suddenly had a clear direction from the Mayor to proceed to decarbonize the LA grid without the repowers. While the challenges are formidable, the opportunities are great, and CEERT looks forward to working with LADWP and all stakeholders to find the right path toward a reliable, affordable, zero-carbon grid.

Glendale

Jim Caldwell has been providing technical support to a group of environmental interveners, including the Sierra Club and Earthjustice, that oppose construction of a new 280 megawatt (MW) gas-fired plant by the Glendale Water and Power (GWP) municipal utility. The proposed Grayson plant would replace an aging gas facility that is being retired. Jim has worked with CAISO, LADWP, and GWP staff to explore expanding transmission connections between Glendale and LADWP, which would reduce the need for some of the proposed plant’s output.

In addition, the City has put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for preferred resources, including storage, demand response, and distributed solar. While GWP management continues to strongly favor some additional gas, the size of the proposed plant keeps getting smaller, and we are hopeful that they can avoid building any new gas, or limit the plant to a few dozen megawatts—possibly a hybrid gas turbine with a clutch and a battery.

Both LADWP and Glendale are key venues for moving away from gas generation, and for demonstrating the economic and technical feasibility of providing grid reliability services with zero-carbon resources.

Southern California Edison (SCE)

Jim Caldwell has closely followed the procurement of resources to meet reliability needs and transmission contingencies in the Moorpark area in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. This transmission sub-region is facing the retirement of the Mandalay gas plant in Oxnard, after the California Energy Commission denied approval of the Puente gas plant that was proposed for the same area.

CEERT is working with SCE Senior Vice President Colin Cushnie and his team on how we can remove barriers to greater reliance on preferred resources, especially demand response and local solar. We have discussed the CPUC’s upcoming decision on Resource Adequacy (RA), and are hopeful about working with SCE on a new procurement for RA and Local Capacity Requirements, including a proposal we submitted in our RA Comments urging the utilization of a “portfolio net qualifying capacity” to enable preferred resources to count and be paid for providing grid reliability.

We have also met with SCE’s Customer Service team to try to reduce barriers and contractual requirements that inhibit the ability of demand response (DR) providers to participate in the procurement of preferred resources, as illustrated by the lack of DR projects in the Moorpark procurement.

Southern California Clean Power Alliance (SCCP)

SCCP is the largest community choice aggregator (CCA) in California, but it only launched recently. Jim Caldwell and V. John White met with CEO Ted Bardacke about working with the CCA on identifying and assembling portfolios of preferred resources in its service area and cooperating with SCE to expand reliance on zero-carbon resources for local capacity and resource adequacy needs.