About 200 people gathered outside Glendale City Hall Tuesday evening demanding that the City Council halt the proposed repowering of the Grayson Power Plant and commission an "independent and unbiased" study of the city's energy needs and available renewable energy solutions.
The Glendale Environmental Coalition, which organized the rally, is also asking the City Council to appoint a "citizen oversight working group" that would represent Glendale residents outside of Glendale Water & Power interests.
The Grayson Power Plant renovation is designed to update the facility into a more reliable and sustainable operation, with plans to remove, rebuild and replace seven of its eight electrical-generation units.
Utility officials previously said that, if left as is, they expect the 80-year-old units to fail within the next decade.
Coalition co-founder Dan Brotman said the group's requests for an independent study at the rally is based on an earlier assessment by consultants that recommended the utility enter long-term agreements with other utilities to purchase power.
"We don't trust current [Glendale Water & Power] management and consultants to provide a balanced assessment," Brotman before the event. "That's why an independent third party who has no skin in the game is needed."
The coalition was also joined by Evan Gillespie, the Sierra Club's western regional director.
"it used to be that we have to make a bargain where we had to say that clean energy is expensive, and it is new, but it is better than the polluting alternative when you think about our kids' health, when you think about the future if this planet it is a tradeoff that we have to make," Gillespie said at the rally. "The good news today is that's no long the case. Clean energy is the cheapest energy solution. We can do what's best for our economy, our pocketbooks and our children's health and their future by investing in clean energy.
State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) also spoke at the event.
"Our actions match our policy statements," he said, referring to the City Council's having resolved to follow the Paris Climate Accord. "All across the world, people are responding to the Paris agreement, a green economy, and Glendale should as well. … All of you flipped the breaker on Grayson."
The rally comes two weeks before a scheduled Feb. 6 City Council meeting, where the $500-million project to update Glendale's aging natural-gas power plant will undergo scrutiny over its potential increase of greenhouse gas emissions at the request of Councilman Zareh Sinanyan.
In December, Sinanyan asked for his colleagues' support in requesting that city staff and utility officials pause the repowering of the facility for a discussion ahead of a draft environmental impact report, which is tentatively scheduled for council consideration on March 6.
An investigation by the Los Angeles Times last year found that California's electricity system is overbuilt — led by natural-gas plants — amid an abundance of available clean energy. The state has had to close some plants and resort to paying other states to take the unusable, surplus power California is generating.