Sustainability

LADWP is committed to promoting sustainable water and power resources. For water, we are expanding the local water supply and promoting conservation to address drought conditions. For power, we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding renewable energy and energy efficiency to create a clean energy future for L.A.

Power Sustainability

 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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The California Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance Standard (SB 1368) sets a cap on the level of greenhouse gas emissions from power imported into the state. The cap is set at the level of, or below, the emission rate of gas-fired combined cycle units.  Another piece of legislation, AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, calls for reducing the state’s CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Under the final regulations for the greenhouse gas emissions cap and trade program, LADWP receives allowances based on projected greenhouse gas emission reductions. This allows revenues generated through customer rates to be invested into renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that meet the RPS and energy efficiency goals.

Coal Transition

Legislative Requirement

Under SB 13688, LADWP is required to stop receiving coal power from two coal-fired generating stations when their current contracts and agreements expire.

Coal Transition Strategy

The Power System Integrated Resource Plan calls for replacing the portion of coal that LADWP receives from Navajo Generating Station in Arizona and Intermountain Power Plant (IPP) in Utah by increasing energy efficiency to at least 15% by 2020 and expanding renewable energy to 33% by 2020, while integrating and balancing variable renewables with efficient and cleaner burning combined-cycle natural gas as a “bridge fuel” to ensure reliability.

Road To Renewables

Legislative Requirement

State law (SB 2 (1x)), as recently interpreted by the California Energy Commission (CEC), requires that California utilities meet the following Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) levels:

  • Maintain average of 20% between 2011 and 2013
  • 25% by 2016
  • 27% by 2017
  • 29% by 2018
  • 31% by 2019 
  • 33% by 2020 and thereafter

LADWP had an average of 23% renewables as of calendar year 2013.

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Local Solar Programs 

A key element of LADWP’s renewable energy program is the development of local solar, particularly customer-based programs that tap into the city’s abundant sunshine. Local solar projects help to meet LADWP’s renewable energy targets and reduce the carbon footprint created by fossil fuel burning power plants. Solar is also expected to be a vital catalyst for creating jobs and stimulating the “green” economy in Los Angeles.

Local solar projects are also beneficial to Los Angeles because they are “distributed generation,” functioning like mini power plants that generate energy right where it’s being used.   

 

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Regulatory Requirement

Once-Through Cooling (OTC) is the process of drawing ocean water and pumping it through a generating station’s cooling system, then discharging it back into the ocean. The impact of OTC on ocean habitat is governed by the Federal Clean Water Act Section 316(b), administered by the State Water Resources Control Board, which developed a statewide policy in 2010 to reduce or minimize the impact of OTC on marine life.

LADWP is eliminating the use of ocean water for cooling its three coastal power plants – Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor Generating Stations – by 2029.  This requires major capital projects, costing about $2.2 billion, employing complex engineering and design, and building in tight quarters without disrupting neighbors. 

Investing in Energy Efficiency

Legislative Requirement

Under AB 2021, publicly-owned utilities such as LADWP, must identify, develop and implement programs for all potentially achievable, cost-effective Energy Efficiency savings and establish annual targets. 

Transformation Element

Recognizing Energy Efficiency is a key element in the power supply transformation and aligning with the State legislation, LADWP has increased its goal to 15% cumulative energy savings by 2020, based on the most recent potential study completed in 2014. The new cumulative energy savings target, covering a 10-year period through 2020, is equivalent to powering about 61,500 homes.

Increased Investment

To achieve the 15% energy reduction by 2020, LADWP has significantly increased investment in energy efficiency over the past three years. To help customers save energy and manage their costs, LADWP offers a number of rebates for energy efficiency products for residential, small business and large commercial customers. Visit www.ladwp.com/save to learn more.

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Water Sustainability

Urban Water Management Plan

LADWP’s 5-year Urban Water Management Plan provides a framework for developing a sustainable water future. The plan analyzes the water supply resources and demand through 2035 with the goal of meeting new demand for water through conservation and local resource development. To meet this goal, the long-term water supply plan focuses on:

  • Expanding water conservation
  • Expanding water recycling
  • Enhancing stormwater capture
  • Cleaning up the San Fernando groundwater basin
  • Expanding water transfers

With the projected increases in local water supplies, Los Angeles will be able to cut Metropolitan Water District (MWD) purchases of imported water in half by 2035.

 

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Responding to a record statewide drought, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive order in October 2014 asking LA residents and businesses to reduce their water use. To meet the Mayor’s directive and accelerate local water supply goals, LADWP stepped up its message to use water efficiently. Angelenos have historically maintained a strong conservation ethic and use just as much water as they did in the 1970s, when the city’s population had approximately one million fewer residents.

But the critical water shortage today requires even more aggressive conservation to meet the Mayor's and Governor's goals. To help meet these goals and help customers manage their water costs, LADWP continues offering rebate programs for water-saving devices and for replacing turf with drought tolerant landscaping. Visit www.ladwp.com/wc to learn more about water conservation programs.

Water Recycling

Recycled water is a critical element of LADWP’s local water supply strategy. Since 1960, the city has recognized the potential for water reuse and invested in a recycled water system that meets Federal and State standards (Title 22) for non-potable water uses, including irrigation, industrial and environmental uses, and in infrastructure (commonly known as purple pipes) to convey recycled water to customers.

Under the 2010 Urban Water Management Plan, LADWP’s goal is to expand recycled water to 59,000 acre-feet per year (AFY) by 2035 by building out "purple pipes." LADWP is also pursuing a groundwater replenishment project, through which advanced treated wastewater will be used to recharge the San Fernando Groundwater Basin.

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Stormwater Capture

Improving the capture and reuse of stormwater is a key element of LADWP's plan to reduce dependence on purchasing expensive, imported water to meet the city's water needs. Stormwater is an underutilized resource in Los Angeles, and also carries harmful pollution to marine ecosystems. Capturing and reusing more stormwater is a natural way to replenish local groundwater aquifers while improving water quality in our ocean, rivers and other water bodies.

LADWP's Stormwater Capture Master Plan was completed in 2015 with input from a variety of stakeholders during public outreach meetings.

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Groundwater Cleanup

Man-made pollution – caused by industrial activities beginning in the 1940s—has severely impaired the quality of San Fernando Basin groundwater, forcing closure of half of LADWP’s production wells. LADWP is taking action to remove the contamination from the groundwater to restore the beneficial use of the aquifer which once provided adjudicated water rights of 87,000 AFY. 

To begin the remediation and cleanup of the local groundwater resources, LADWP has completed the construction of 25 groundwater monitoring wells in various areas of the eastern San Fernando Basin where the city’s major wellfields are located.

These new wells, along with a network of 67 existing wells, are being used to characterize the basin’s groundwater quality in order to design and construct groundwater remediation facilities for removing contamination from the city’s major wellfields in the San Fernando Basin. The total cost of the wells and the characterization evaluation will be approximately $22 million dollars.

Water samples collected from more than 90 groundwater production wells and monitoring wells were analyzed to determine the nature and extent of the pollution. The location of each well was selected in coordination with drinking water regulators to measure the water quality along specific groundwater flow paths which lead toward LADWP wellfields.

The groundwater sampling effort was completed in 2014, and the initial findings of the characterization study will be completed in early 2015. Preliminary findings have been reviewed with the State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water (DDW), and LADWP expects to seek DDW approval to construct two major groundwater treatment facilities that will be operational by 2024-2025. These will be designed to remove contamination from the local groundwater to protect the environment and the public.