Mayor Garcetti Celebrates Final Approval of Largest Solar and Energy Storage Project in the U.S.

Image of female speaking at podium with dignitaries standing behind her.Cynthia McClain-Hill, Vice President of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, speaks at the Eland press conference outside City Hall. Photo credit: Art Mochizuki.

The Eland Solar and Storage Center will capture and store enough energy for nearly one million residents, reducing the need for natural gas when the sun isn’t shining

This news release was issued by the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti.

LOS ANGELES (November 6, 2019) — Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced unanimous City Council approval of power purchase agreements for the Eland Solar and Storage Center — the largest solar and battery energy storage system in the United States.

“We are entering a make-or-break decade for the preservation of our planet, and L.A. is leading the transition to a low-carbon future that will combat the climate crisis, create new clean energy jobs and keep the lights on without relying on dirty fossil fuels,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The Eland Solar and Storage Center will provide renewable energy to nearly one million residents — even when the sun isn’t shining — and play a pivotal role in powering our progress toward a more sustainable future.”

As part of Mayor Garcetti’s Green New Deal, the Eland Solar and Storage Center will help Los Angeles reach 55% renewable energy by 2025, 80% renewable energy by 2036, and 100% renewable energy by 2045.

“Eland Solar and Storage Center will offer reliable, cost-competitive energy as we expand solar and other renewable resources to meet our aggressive climate change goals,” said LADWP General Manager Martin L. Adams. “Among other benefits, the project will bridge the gap between day and night, dramatically increasing the operational value of the project.”

The Eland Solar and Storage Center will be LADWP’s first utility-scale, integrated solar and battery project engineered to provide fully dispatchable power to customers in the evening and night time hours — reducing reliance on natural gas when renewable energy is unavailable.

Located on 2,650 acres in Kern County, California, the project will include two large-scale solar facilities that will capture 400 megawatts (MW) of solar energy and store up to 1,200 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy — all of which can be distributed to meet peak demand. The site will hold enough energy to power 283,330 homes across Los Angeles.

The Eland proposal will be built in two phases. It was selected out of a pool of 130 proposals because of the project’s scope and competitive price, which includes a fixed cost of less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for solar power, the lowest price offered in U.S. history. 8minutenergy will cover all costs associated with the development, maintenance, and operation of the facility.

Today’s unanimous vote from the City Council approves two power purchase agreements with 8minutenergy to develop the project and begin commercial operation no later than December 31, 2023. The contract will cost less than $5 per year for each LADWP customer.

8minutenergy has finalized and signed a project labor agreement with local labor unions in Kern County to ensure the project will provide good-paying, green jobs for Southern California workers. The project is expected to create 700 jobs over the 14-month construction period and employ 40 long-term operations and maintenance staff when in service.

Currently, LADWP receives 32% of its energy from renewable sources, and the Eland Solar and Storage Center will increase that number by up to 7.1%. That would enable the City to prevent up to 727,360 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from a conventional fossil fuel power plant — the equivalent of taking 148,700 cars off the road for a year.

The joint clean energy investment with Glendale Water and Power, which will receive 12.5% of the total solar and battery storage, will be administered through the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA).

Image of rendering of large solar farm and battery storage units with mountain range in background.

Rendering of Eland Solar and Energy Storage Center provided by 8minutenergy.

Support for Eland Solar and Storage Project from Key Partners
“The benefit of this agreement is more than the affordable solar power it will allow us to generate,” said City Council President Pro Tempore Nury Martinez, Chair of the Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee.

“This project is a step forward to what our renewable energy policy for Los Angeles should accomplish: reducing gas power usage in frontline communities like those I represent in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. After all, Environmental Justice should begin first and foremost in the communities most impacted by the burdens of the rest of the city’s progress, and this agreement sets the table for more focused efforts in that direction.”

“The Eland project is the kind of innovative combination of technologies that will demonstrate that a renewable future is not just environmentally preferential, but more cost-effective than most conventional power plants,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian. “I’m delighted that this important part of the city’s sustainable future is advancing and that ratepayers of DWP will soon reap the benefits of this project.”

“We are living our defining moment in the existential battle against the climate crisis. We must rise to it,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin. “For the good of future generations, we must lead the way toward a more sustainable future. I am enormously grateful that Mayor Garcetti, the DWP board, and my colleagues for their support and advocacy of this important clean power project.”

“Utility-scale battery storage married to solar power has finally arrived! With our recent climate-exacerbated wildfires still smoldering, the arrival of Eland couldn’t be more timely, more affordable, or more historic,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz.

“As the cheapest solar and energy storage contract in the country, Eland is an example of a project that is a win for ratepayers, the environment, and workers,” said Luis Amezcua, Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign. “The Los Angeles Clean Energy Coalition is excited to continue supporting groundbreaking investments that generate good union jobs, reduce our dependence on gas, and create a healthier and more equitable future for current and future Angelenos.”

“With this project, the Mayor, City Council leaders and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are advancing a key clean energy strategy to meet the City’s ambitious goal of 100 percent renewable energy,” said Linda Escalante, Southern California Legislative Director, NRDC. It is exciting to work with the City and other key stakeholders in the community to ensure an equitable, just, and prosperous transition to a clean energy future for LA with good union jobs at its foundation.”

“This is what the future of energy looks like,” said Dr. Tom Buttgenbach, President and CEO of 8minutenergy. “We’re thrilled to be co-creating that future in collaboration with our fellow innovators at LADWP and the labor community. Together, thanks to Eland’s advanced storage and dispatch capabilities, we’re working to dispel misconceptions about the availability, reliability, and long-term viability of clean solar power.”

“Los Angeles is leading the nation with the approval of the largest combined battery storage and solar project ever built in a win for LADWP customers and the climate,” said Food & Water Action Senior Organizer Jasmin Vargas. “The Eland Project clearly points to what’s possible — cheap solar CAN power L.A. at night! More importantly, this project is a model for a just and fair transition off fossil fuels towards L.A.’s clean energy future. More solar means less pollution while creating new union jobs, something workers and environmental justice communities fought for together.”

“This project will be the largest solar and battery energy storage project in the United States, and Glendale is proud to be part of it,” said Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian. “Our continued partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is important to us, and this is another step toward greater collaboration and our transition to a 100% clean energy future.”

For high resolution photos, please visit: LAMayor.org/Photos

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