Five years ago, I initiated Los Angeles’ conversion to a 100 percent carbon-free electrical grid. But it was much more than just setting a goal. In response to my motion, co-authored by Councilmember Bonin, LADWP began an effort unprecedented in the nation to create a genuine blueprint to eliminate fossil fuels and achieve 100 percent clean energy.
With the active engagement of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and a committed community task force representing environmental organizations, business, labor and ratepayer advocates, the LA100 plan was born. Los Angeles is now on a clear trajectory to achieve the 100 percent clean energy future that no other major city has accomplished, and to do it in a way that ensures grid reliability, cost efficiency and massive job creation.
As is evident by the frequency of tremendously destructive wildfires and extreme weather events, the climate crisis is having real-world impacts today. Just this week, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a stunning report, drawing on more than 14,000 scientific studies, demonstrating that climate change is already close to spiraling out of control and is altering the natural world in ways that could become irreversible without bolder action worldwide. As President Biden said, “The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting.”
In March, I co-authored a motion with Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, chair of the Council’s committee on the environment and climate change, to set a deadline for Los Angeles to meet its LA100 goal no later than 2035. Last week, the LADWP reported on investments it is already undertaking, including adding 3,000 megawatts of new renewables and building 10 transmission projects over 10 years to bring renewable power to the City. With these steps, LADWP will achieve 97 percent carbon-free energy by 2030. This is of course a vital part of doing our share to address global climate change, but it is also vitally important to improving local air quality in the LA Basin to protect our health.
The historic implications of this effort cannot be overstated. The LADWP is on target to complete a transformation of the power grid that will serve as a model for the nation. At a time when the world is urgently struggling to forestall and eventually reverse the effects of climate change, the progress of LA100 provides hope for the future — in Los Angeles and beyond.