Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

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The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is the largest municipal utility in the United States, serving over four million residents. It was founded in 1902 to supply water and electricity to residents and businesses in Los Angeles and surrounding communities.[1]

Service territory

In addition to the city of Los Angeles, LADWP also provides services to these communities:[1]

  • Bishop (parts of)
  • Culver City (parts of)
  • South Pasadena (parts of)
  • West Hollywood (parts of)

Operational systems

Power system

The LADWP currently maintains a generating capacity of 7,000 to serve a peak demand of 5,600 megawatts.[2] According to the LADWP website, the power mix consists of coal (50 percent), natural gas (25 percent), large hydro (11 percent), nuclear (12 percent) and renewable power (2 percent).[2] However, according to figures for 2010, the amount of electricity generated by coal-fired power plants had been reduced to 39%. Natural gas accounted for 31% and nuclear accounted for 9%. Solar accounted for less than 1%.[3]

The LADWP, along with the California Department of Water Resources, also operates the Castaic Pumped Storage Power Station as a pumped storage facility. Water flows from the upper reservoir to the lower during the day, generating power when demand is highest, and is pumped back up at night when excess capacity is available.[4] About 1,600 megawatts, or 22% of the total capacity, is generated at this facility alone. The Los Angeles City Council voted in 2004 to direct the LADWP to generate 20% of its energy (excluding Hoover Dam) from clean sources by 2010 . Current "green power" sources account for 5% of the LADWP's capacity, but there are plans to add a 120 megawatt wind farm in Tehachapi, California, and produce electricity from geothermal sources in the Salton Sea area and photovoltaic sources.

Coal-fired generation

2010 Integrated Resource Plan calls for phasing out coal

The 2010 Integrated Resource Plan, a strategic plan for the next 20 years, recommended that LADWP add 630 new megawatts of solar capacity by 2020 and 970 megawatts of solar capacity by 2030. The plan recommended 580 megawatts of new wind power by 2020. The plan designated that 40 percent of solar be in-basin. It recommended incentive programs, feed-in tariff schemes, and other mechanisms for promoting solar. The plan recommended ending purchases of power from the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station by 2014, which is five years ahead of the deadline established by California state law. The plan recommends ending use of power from the coal-fired Intermountain Power Station by 2020, seven years ahead of the scheduled end of such purchases. The plan states that "LADWP is open to a mutually agreeable early compliance plan between the project participants that preserves the site and transmission for clean fossil and renewable generation."[3]

Table 1: Generation Sources for LADWP in 2010 and 2030[5]

Power Source Megawatts (2010) Megawatts (2030)
Coal 1,679 0
Natural Gas 3,415 5,797
Nuclear 387 387
Large Hydro 1,738 1,738
Small Hydro 200 200
Wind 1,000 1,680
Solar 25 995
Geothermal 0 320
Generic 0 160

Clean energy goals may be stalled

It was reported in December 2010 that LADWP may not reach its renewable energy goals set by Mayor Villaraigosa due to a lack of funding. LADWP executives warned that they would not be able to sustain that achievement, let alone reach future goals, without guaranteed funding from taxpayers.[6]



  1. "LADWP Quick Facts and Figures," LADWP website, accessed December 14, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Water and Power Today," LADWP website, accessed December 14, 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 "L.A.'s long-term electricity plan calls for earlier cutoff of coal, more solar," Solar Home & Business Journal, November 17, 2010
  4. California Department of Water Resources (2007). State Water Project - Today. California Department of Water Resources. Retrieved on November 19, 2007.
  5. "Building a New Los Angeles: 2010 Power Integrated Resource Plan," presentation by Eric Tharp, LADWP, at 2010 Annual Meeting of Intermountain Power Agency
  6. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/06/local/la-me-dwp-dysfunction-20101206/2 "DWP quietly scales back Villaraigosa's ambitious renewable energy goal"] David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2010.
  • Hawkins, J. (November 2007). Power to the People. Alive!. 
  • Kahrl, William L. (1982). Water and Power: The Conflict over Los Angeles’ Water Supply in the Owens Valley. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0520044312. 

Related SourceWatch articles

External links

Wikipedia also has an article on Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.