100 Percent Carbon-Neutral Power by 2035: Los Angeles City Council Approves Landmark Initiative
October 4, 2021 -- The Los Angeles City Council recently (Sept 1) took the historic step of requiring that 100 percent of the city's electricity come from clean, zero-carbon energy by 2035. Through a motion introduced by Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Mitch O'Farrell, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power the largest municipally-owned utility in the country will lead the nation in this ambitious and game-changing commitment to sustainable energy.
The Council also approved a related motion from O'Farrell and Krekorian that will create a strategic plan for equitable workforce hiring, ensuring a just transition to thousands of green new jobs.
The recent Council actions are the outgrowth of a planning process initiated by Krekorian five years ago, through a motion he co-introduced with his colleague Mike Bonin. That process, which became known as LA100, involved unprecedented research and modeling in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The study proved that 100 percent clean energy is not only feasible, it is highly beneficial to the economy and jobs as well as the environment.
'As the recent code red report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates, we are in the midst of an environmental crisis with no parallel in recorded history,' said Councilmember Krekorian. 'Governments and individuals around the world must act urgently to combat climate change. By its vote today, the Council has shown the world that Los Angeles is ready to lead this effort.'
'This is not a crisis for the next generation; this is a crisis happening at this very moment - and Los Angeles is firmly committed to leading the way,' said Councilmember O'Farrell, chair of the Council's Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, & Los Angeles River committee. 'The terrifying, destructive scale of recent disasters - wildfires, drought, and hurricanes - accelerated by our climate crisis underscores the necessity of today's actions. The City of Los Angeles, led by the City Council and our committee on the environment, is treating this crisis with the urgency it requires. We are also ensuring a just transition to thousands of green new jobs with a focus on equity in the workforce.'
'The LA100 study was a unique and pioneering effort, unprecedented in scale and scope, to model a grid as complicated as L.A.'s,' said President Cynthia McClain-Hill, Board of Water and Power Commissioners. 'The study showed us several viable pathways for achieving 100% renewable and carbon-free energy by 2035 at the earliest. Now, with support of our Mayor, our City Council, and many community members and stakeholders across the city, we're ready to take the next steps toward a 100% clean energy future. Most importantly, we will begin a study of how to achieve 100% clean power while ensuring equity of the projects, programs, and services that will be developed as we move forward on this path.'
'This is truly a great day for Los Angeles that puts our city firmly in a leadership position among world cities working to decarbonize the planet,' said Martin Adams, Chief Engineer and General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. 'Our City has set a goal of 100% carbon-free energy by 2035 and we're here to tackle the challenge and say, LADWP is all in.'
'Getting to 100% clean energy as soon as possible is not a goal; it is an imperative,' said Councilmember Mike Bonin. 'We need aggressive action today to force an urgent and just transition to a fossil-free tomorrow. It is how we safeguard our children's future. It is how we preserve a livable Los Angeles. It is how we protect our neighborhoods and ensure equity.'
'It is a proud day as the City of Angels leads the country forward on equitable clean energy,' said Councilmember Paul Koretz. 'As we blaze the trail to 100% renewable energy, we will ensure that no one is left behind. Not the frontline communities who live beside leaking natural gas plants, not the Indigenous Navajo and Hopi communities who brought our City power for over fifty years, and not the heroic DWP workers who, day in and day out, bring light into our offices and homes, sometimes at great risk to themselves.'
'Today marks a landmark achievement for our fight for climate justice and a better Los Angeles,' says Francis Yang, Senior Organizer for Sierra Club's My Generation Campaign. 'Through years of advocacy and collaboration from communities to our city leaders, Los Angeles has officially kick-started our path to 100% clean energy. Although the ambitious goal of 2035 or earlier is now solidified, our path forward is only beginning. Angelenos must stay engaged to determine how we get to 100% through strategic and inclusive planning that prioritizes frontline communities and creates good, clean jobs.'
'Los Angeles is leading California on the path to clean renewable energy with environmental justice at its center,' said Food & Water Watch Senior Organizer Jasmin Vargas. 'The vote by the City Council today comes after years of advocacy and leadership from communities on the frontlines of climate change, calling for community driven solutions that create thousands of local union jobs and cut pollution at the source.'
Krekorian noted that clean energy is not only about climate change. 'By committing to a clean energy future, the Council is also saving LA lives with improved air quality, protecting LA neighborhoods from power plants burning fossil fuel, and creating over ten thousand new, good-paying jobs in the sustainable economy of the 21st Century,' Krekorian said.
'The Los Angeles Business Council continues to support Councilman Krekorian and his colleagues' bold leadership to transition the LADWP from a carbon-based energy system to a clean energy one by 2035 - it is historic and a model for others,' said Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council. 'It will also require extensive planning and early infrastructure investment; the benefits include cleaner air, water and land, billions of dollars of new investment and more than 11,000 jobs annually.'
Councilmember Krekorian noted that the LADWP has already taken extraordinary steps toward achieving its 100 percent clean energy goal, laying the groundwork to accommodate 580,000 electric vehicles and adding over 1,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030.
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