live / 2016

Turning Los Angeles into a Renewable Energy Leader

Turning Los Angeles into a Renewable Energy Leader

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Food & Water Watch

It’s time for L.A. be a global leader and make the transition to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030 - we will build political power in communities across L.A. to make this transition a reality.

Please describe your project proposal.

Building on our work to ban fracking and end our dependence on dirty fossil fuels, Food & Water Watch is undertaking a strategic campaign to transition Los Angeles from oil, gas, and coal to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Waterways
  • Exposure to air toxins
  • Local water
  • Resilient communities

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

In Los Angeles, residents struggle to live with some of the worst air quality in the nation. The oil we extract, refine and burn and our natural gas infrastructure are causing severe health consequences for our communities. According to the Los Angeles County Asthma Profile, nearly 1,221,000 adults and children have been diagnosed with asthma. Asthma contributes to 332 deaths yearly in LA County and 14 of those are children under 18. This is a direct result of our continued dependence on fossil fuels and polluting gas infrastructure in Los Angeles. To make Los Angeles a healthy and cleaner place to live, we must transition away from fossil fuels.

We are working to commit Los Angeles to a 100% renewable energy future by 2030 that mandates phasing out the use of dangerous natural gas, obtained via fracking, and the decommissioning of polluting gas power plants and storage fields in the Los Angeles basin. Currently, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) operates four gas fired generating stations in Los Angeles. These gas power plants are located in underserved communities in Sun Valley, Wilmington, Long Beach and El Segundo.

Currently, DWP is working to transition off coal power by 2025, but this could means more reliance on polluting gas infrastructure unless we make sure that is replaced by renewable power. According to studies by CalTech and NOAA, L.A.’s gas infrastructure and pipelines leak methane at an alarming rate: 2.5-6% of gas delivered in-basin leaks and contributes to 47% of all methane emissions in Los Angeles. Finally, Los Angeles just witnessed the worst gas blowout at the Aliso Canyon Gas Field that forced the evacuation of over 15,000 households in the San Fernando Valley. We are working to keep the dangerous and leaky field closed for good.

Instead of transitioning from coal to gas, Los Angeles needs to make a commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2030 to clean up the air and prevent the worsening of the climate crisis. 100% renewable by 2030 is necessary to prevent 1.5°C warming of the planet. Already, we have seen a 1°C rise in temperatures and have observed effects of violent storms, droughts, floods, acidifying and rapidly warming oceans and altered growing seasons. It’s imperative for Los Angeles, a coastal city that is vulnerable to droughts, fires, sea-level rise and acidifying oceans to make a bold commitment and lead on the 100% renewable energy future our city deserves.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

We will immediately produce a blueprint report, written by renewable energy experts, for how Los Angeles can make this transition and use it as a tool to educate the community, the Mayor, and the City Council. Through our advocacy and community organizing we will work towards getting Mayor Garcetti and the City Council to order DWP to invest our ratepayer dollars to renewable energy and decommission the coastal gas power plants in the next few years. Our success will be measured primarily by building a diverse, powerful, and citywide movement towards achieving this historic goal.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support