Through determined investment in solar energy, Los Angeles is on track to generate a third of its power from renewables by 2020. Varun Sivaram, formerly Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's senior advisor on energy and water policy and currently a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, penned the following op-ed for The Planning Report on the challenges Los Angeles faces in upgrading its energy infrastructure while meeting demand for renewables.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power serves over four million people, making it the largest municipal utility in the United States. California's Renewable Portfolio Standard requires investor-owned utilities, electric service providers, and community choice aggregators to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33 percent of total procurement by 2020. The mandate is a challenge to utilities like the LADWP, which have struggled to end contracts with energy providers in order to meet the standard. And while the utility is on track to replace 70 percent of its power supply in a decade, Sivaram urges Mayor Eric Garcetti to "seek new ways to supply, store, and save energy to arrest both electricity rates and greenhouse gas emissions."