Los Angeles’ Mayor Eric Garcetti today declared the city open for business as a laboratory for green hydrogen technologies, as he addressed the Green Hydrogen Visions for the West Virtual Conference.
Garcetti unveiled in April 2019 Los Angeles’ Green New Deal, which sets aggressive goals for the city’ sustainable future, tackles the climate emergency with accelerated targets, strengthens its economy and sets Los Angeles on course to be carbon neutral by 2050.
Aiming to become the first city in the nation to use renewable hydrogen to produce electricity, Los Angeles isn’t stopping there.
“We’ve invested in a record number of renewables in the largest municipal utility in the US, we have the most energy efficient buildings of any city in the US, we’re well on our way to a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and we’re on track to end coal based electricity in our cities fuel base by that same year,” Garcetti told event attendees.
“Our Los Angeles Green New Deal has five zeroes: zero carbon electricity grid, zero emission transpotation network, zero emission buildings, as well as zero wasted water and zero waste. But it’s a green print that moves us forward towards the goal of zero carbon power by 2045 and carbon neutrality by 2050.”
Garcetti said Los Angeles has already peaked its emissions and these are now on the way down. But to achieve the city’s goals of 100% renewable energy supply, Garcetti said Los Angeles is going to need to make some bold investments and embrace innovative ideas.
“This is a moment full and rich with opportunity, it’s a fundamental shift, it’s a brave new direction that I believe humanity is headed towards,” he said.
“It requires us to do four things: accelerate what we’ve doing, collaborate with everything that we’re doing, innovate, and just as important is to communicate.”
“We’re not just recovering and rebuilding, really it’s a moment for us to reimagine. We can’t just respond, rebuild, recover but we have to reimagine what our society and economy and world can be.”
He highlighted Los Angeles’s plans to convert the Intermountain Power Plant (IPP) from coal, to natural gas and finally to renewable hydrogen fuel.
The transition to replace the coal-fired units at IPP will start in 2025 when the turbines will be commercially guaranteed capable of using a fuel mix of 30% hydrogen and 70% natural gas fuel.
Over the next 20 years, the hydrogen capability will be systematically increased to 100% renewable hydrogen, enabling carbon-free utility-scale power generation.
Owned by the Intermountain Power Agency (IPA), it will be operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and provide 840MW of reliable energy to the IPA purchasers it serves, including Los Angeles and municipalities in other parts of California and Utah.
“Our L.A. Department of Water and Power started this transition with plans to invest nearly $1bn over the next five years in everything from solar to wind to green hydrogen to energy storage,” Garcetti said.
“Know that the IPP is a perfect example of the kind of creative investments the department will continue to be making.”
“The power plant has the potential to enable over 8GW of renewable resources over the next 15 years.”
It’s in an extraordinary place that can take advantage of wind from Montana and Wyoming, if we can get the wires there.”
“It has the equivalent of a dozen or so empire state building sized salt caverns for storage and we have the turbines there being rebuilt.”
“A lot of people said, ‘Oh you’re moving from coal to natural gas’. It’s not necessarily a natural gas plant, it is a turbine plant and what we put in it is up to us and our creativity.”
“The prospect of a hydrogen conversion of the combined sectoral turbines is to me an example of how we’re continuing to think big, think outside the box and maybe we can model something for the nation by L.A. going first.”
Los Angeles may be the number one solar city in America, but even it has cloudy days and Garcetti said the city needs plenty of options for baseline power.
“We’re earthquake country, we spend a lot of time on our resilent city plan, but if we get cut off from power because of the grid or because of a natural disaster or anything else, we’re going to need things that can sustain us for months, something that solar is very pressed to do in terms of storage,” he continued.
“We’re going to need options for backup power for our hospitals that don’t rely on diesel; we need rampable storage; we need new methods for heating our buildings and powering the trucks that leave our port every day; and to convert jobs for people that are working with pipes today that work on natural gas, to work on hydrogen pipes tomorrow that could carry hydrogen.”
“We need methods that don’t worsen our air quality but improve it and we need those solutions right now.”
“I want all of you listening to know L.A. is not only open for business, we want to be your laboratory. We will say yes, we will try things with you.”
“We are so excited to do new things, but more important we are so excited to make a difference, on this defining moment, this defining issue, and I look forward to hydrogen being a huge part of that conversation and those answers.”