Energy Issues

 

 

Ensure Grid Reliability During the Transition to a Clean Energy Future

          The Water and Power Associates supports the City’s goal of a 100% clean energy supply, and we believe the plan put forth by LADWP management is critical to maintaining reliable electric service during the challenging transition period ahead. The Water and Power Associates, a 501(c)4 non-profit corporation, was established in 1971 to inform and educate its members, public officials and the general public on critical water and energy issues affecting the citizens of Los Angeles, Southern California and the State of California.  Our members have decades of experience and understand the complexity of the electric grid, physical assets and operational practices which ensure service to residents and businesses day in and day out, regardless of most foreseeable contingencies.

          Customers expect an endless supply of electric energy at their homes or businesses, whenever they turn on a switch, start an air conditioner, or plug in an electric vehicle.  And utilities have an obligation to serve, and must build, operate, maintain or procure all the wires, equipment, and generation needed to serve demand.  All of these assets require large capital investments, have long lead times to implement, and often face various degrees of opposition.  Few people are aware that when California experiences several days of state-wide prolonged heat, referred to as heat storms by grid operators, that on such days the wind rarely blows, yet power demand reaches peak levels.

          State mandated “Once-Through Cooling” regulations necessitate the replacement of existing coastal generation units.  After numerous studies by experts in the field, staff recommended building new, lower-emitting natural gas fueled generation in the southern areas of the LADWP service area.  Some environmental advocates, with a singular focus on implementing renewable power, have opposed this approach.  The studies, however, found this to be the only feasible option for maintaining electric reliability.  Other options, such as building additional High Voltage transmission which would take decades, are not feasible and do not address the need for local generation for grid stability and voltage support.  Battery storage is not feasible due to space requirements for the capacity needed, is not cost effective today, and has its own environmental impacts, such as hazardous waste disposal.  Natural gas generation will provide the required flexibility to start or stop in order to coordinate with the variable output of wind and solar resources, and eliminate the possibility of energy brownouts with adverse impacts on the safety and wellbeing of LADWP’s customers.  Also keep in mind that natural gas generation may be able to bridge to hydrogen fuel as technology and delivery systems develop over time.

           The transition to Clean Energy is complex and will take time.  Staff has performed the necessary planning studies and processes involving myriad stakeholders.  The Associates urge you to consider the information that has been assembled with the careful evaluation of options and support the LADWP staff recommendation.

 

February 10, 2019

 

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Position Letter on Solar Feed in Tariff (FiT)

 

The Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners
111 N. Hope Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

 

Re:  Board of Water and Power Commissioners Action regarding Solar Feed in Tariffs

 

Commissioners,

It is the understanding of the Water and Power Associates that the duty of the Rate Payer Advocate is to provide independent analysis to the Board on its actions that will, among other things, affect rates.

It is the Associates further understanding that Mr. Fred Pickel, the Rate Payer Advocate, has recommended to the Board of Commissioners that it delay the pricing guidelines for LADWP’s Solar Feed in Tariff (FiT) program until there is a more adequate understanding of its impacts on the citizens of the City and the Department of Water and Power.

However, the Board, at its June 20, 2013 meeting, elected to set aside the Rate Payer Advocate’s recommendation on the FiT program , despite what appears to be strong evidence that the costs are not consistent with ( i.e. significantly higher than) other FiT programs in California.  

The Associates are not privy to all the facts or discussions that led to the  Board’s decision but believe that decision may well  have long-term consequences on the increasing cost of electricity for the City’s ratepayers, its residents and businesses.

In light of other significant costs that will compel the Department's Power System to seek increases  to the electric rates over the next few years, we believe that before the ratepayers are asked to pay the bill they deserve to have full disclosure of the benefits and costs of the FiT program.

Accordingly, we recommend that your Board, as public policy and prior to the award of any contracts under the FiT program, be thoroughly briefed by Department management on the issues raised by the Rate Payer Advocate.

 

Sincerely,

 

Edward A. Schlotman, President 

Water and Power Associates, Inc.

 

Cc: Fred Pickel                                                
DWP GM                                                       
Sr. Assist GM, Power
Mayor
City Council

July 1, 2013

 

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Position on Once-Through Cooling

 

Click HERE for W&PA's position on State Lands Commission Proposed Rule on Once-Through Cooling