Challenging the city of Los Angeles to step up development of green power, environmental groups released a study Tuesday that said the Department of Water and Power could produce 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2017 without raising rates.
The report increases pressure on the city utility to voluntarily meet the 20% goal set by state law for private utilities. City officials are finishing their own analysis, which is expected to raise significant cost concerns about meeting a 20% goal.
The report by the Environment California Research and Policy Center and the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies disagrees. It concludes that the city might even save money by using more renewable sources of electric generation such as solar, wind, geothermal and landfill gas.
Increasing generation of green power by 1% each year would "provide Los Angeles with added energy reliability, price stability and independence from fossil fuels," concluded the analysis conducted for the environmental groups by William B. Marcus of JBS Energy Inc.
Los Angeles generates 2.2% of its electricity from renewable sources and has announced plans for a wind project that will boost that to 3.7%. The DWP lags the state as a whole, where 12% of electricity comes from renewable sources. DWP officials have expressed doubt that the 2017 target can be met without increased electricity rates.
Agency spokesman Randy Howard said Tuesday he believes the cost of conventional energy was overestimated by the environmental groups' study. City officials have estimated that the additional cost of reaching the 20% renewable energy level could be up to $100 million a year.
The report said the costs of conventional energy sources, including natural gas, are rising while those for renewable energy are coming down.