Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced that LA has taken a major step toward eliminating coal from Los Angeles’ energy mix: on Friday, he signed an agreement to sell LADWP’s 21% share in the Arizona-based Navajo Generating Station. Sale of Navajo will reduce LA’s greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 1 million cars over the next three and one-half years.
The signing fulfills a promise Mayor Garcetti made to voters in 2013 to divest from Navajo and reaffirms a commitment in the Sustainable City pLAn to make tangible progress towards getting Los Angeles completely off coal by 2025. The sales agreement also comes on the heals of Mayor Garcetti’s unveiling last week of the Mayor National Climate Action Agenda, a joint effort with Mayors Anise Parker of Houston and Michael Nutter of Philadelphia to catalyze local climate change efforts ahead of global climate talks in Paris later this year.
“It is important to back up talk about climate change with actions that actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This is an important step toward cleaner air, addressing climate change, and creating a clean energy future for Los Angeles.”
Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions combined with the decline in prices of cleaner forms energy have caused the value of coal-fired assets to fall in recent years. The city’s move to sell Navajo four years ahead of a state mandate reduces the risk to ratepayers of a costly exit from the plant in the future.
Capping three years of complex negotiations led by Department of Water and Power staff, the sale includes an agreement to buy renewable geothermal power as a substitute source of power and a provision that will push the controlling owner of the plant, Salt River Project, to shut down one of the plant’s three operating units in 2019, improving air quality in the Grand Canyon viewshed while reducing the amount of worldwide climate pollution.
“We are very pleased that LADWP and Salt River Project have agreed to terms that best serve our customers and our strategic goals,” LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said. “It is important to us that the environmental benefits of the agreement extend beyond the city of Los Angeles to the area in which the plant is located.”
Sale of Navajo will leave LADWP with just one coal-fired power plant left, Utah-based Intermountain Power Plant. Efforts will now turn to the negotiations necessary to transition IPP out of coal and into a cleaner mix of fuel sources by 2025.