LADWP Oks new geothermal power contract

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) said Sept. 6 that it has agreed to a decade-long power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy geothermal energy from the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) Heber-1 power plant in Imperial County, Calif.

LADWP will receive an average of 34 MW or about 74% of the plant’s total 46-MW generating capacity. The remainder will be purchased by the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), LADWP said in a news release.

The Los Angeles City Council approved LADWP’s agreement with the geothermal project on Aug. 28.

“Unlike wind and solar, which are intermittent renewable resources that do not generate power continuously, a geothermal plant is constantly producing energy so we can rely on it for base-load power,” LADWP General Manager Ronald Nichols said. “This makes it an ideal addition to our renewable energy portfolio as part of our replacement of coal power.”

LADWP has announced plans to stop receiving coal power by 2025, and replace it with a combination of renewable energy, energy efficiency measures, and efficient natural gas as a bridge fuel to provide reliability. As part of the major power supply transformation, LADWP will also completely eliminate the use of ocean water cooling at its three coastal power plants while rebuilding them to improve fuel efficiency, reliability and integration with renewable energy.

LADWP achieved 20% renewables in 2010, ahead of most other utilities in the state. LADWP is on track to supply 25% of its energy from renewable resources by 2016, and 33% by 2020. The geothermal energy purchased from Heber-1 will represent 1.3% of LADWP’s renewable energy goals.

The agreement also includes provisions for delivering the renewable power to Los Angeles via the IID transmission system.

The SCPPA website indicated the authority has a geothermal power relationship with Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA) for geothermal energy.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.