LADWP Seeks To Phase Out Coal-fired Electricity by 2025

If all goes according to plan the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), the largest municipal utility in the United States, will no longer use any coal-fired electricity generation by 2025.

That goal will come as a result of a contract that it recently signed with Utah-based Intermountain Power Agency (IPA) to replace coal-fired electricity generation with gas-fired electricity generation.

The agreement between LADWP and IPA calls for the repowering of the 30-year-old Intermountain Power Project (IPP) plant in the high desert of rural Utah. Repowering is the process of changing a plant from one fuel type to another.

That large facility currently produces up to 1,800 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired electricity and will repower to produce up to 1,200 MW of natural gas-fired electricity generation.

The agreement will allow the LADWP to meet its coal divestiture goals two years earlier than expected.

During the Oct. 19 business meeting, the California Energy Commission approved LADWP’s request to enter into an agreement with IPP stating that the repowering is compliant with the state’s greenhouse gas emissions performance standard.

That standard limits long-term investments in electricity generation by California utilities by requiring that carbon dioxide emission rates from power plants be no greater than 1,110 per megawatt hour.

“This is a great step forward and it’s an important step,” said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller at the meeting.

The repowered IPP is expected to be an operational gas-fired plant from 2025 to 2077.

However, reaching the coal divestiture goal for the facility is contingent on several factors such as permitting and material procurement and the approval of all purchasers of electricity from the IPP.

Presently, these include 23 municipal electricity purchasers and six cooperatives in Utah and six utilities receiving shares from the coal plant including Anaheim, Burbank, Glendale, LADWP, Pasadena, and Riverside.

When the IPP repowers as a natural gas plant, it is expected there will only be five California participants: Burbank, Glendale, LADWP, Pasadena, and Riverside.

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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