Energy efficiency is the Swiss Army Knife of public policy. It’s Veg-o-matic. It slices and dices. No matter the question, energy efficiency just might be the answer.
What technology saves you money on your utility bill? How can businesses become more competitive? What reduces greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest cost? Energy efficiency is the correct answer to all-of-the-above.
Now add another benefit: energy efficiency can help prepare us for climate change.
Think about the hot summer days when electricity use skyrockets. On L.A.’s hottest day on record – 113° Fahrenheit on September 27, 2010 – LADWP delivered a whopping 6,177 megawatts. It was the all-time high in power demand, mainly to power air-conditioners and refrigerators.
But, when the grid is overtaxed, there’s also a high likelihood of power outages. More than an inconvenience, blackouts are a public health problem. During the Chicago heat wave of 1995,
Now that the L.A. mayoral race is over, its winner, Eric Garcetti, has much to do to help advance an environmental agenda for Los Angeles. He has a strong record of environmental protection and I’m confident that as mayor he can lead the City to a big and bold vision of environmental sustainability. There are several major issues L.A. will need to address during the next four years. A comprehensive report prepared by UCLA serves as a more in depth analysis than this blog can undertake, but here are some of the major issues that Mayor Garcetti should undertake.
This next year is going to be critical to advancing a future that relies less on landfills and more on reducing, reusing and recycling. Of immediate priority, Eric Garcetti needs to push hard with the City Council to vote on the single-use plastic bag ban ordinance,
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) recently released its “Energy Efficiency Portfolio Business Plan” for fiscal years 2012-2014. For the past few years, LADWP has been talking the talk about doing more energy efficiency, and (importantly) using efficiency as its top priority resource for getting out of coal power. This plan shows that LADWP is walking the walk!
Particularly impressive aspects of the plan:
Overview of the plan:
When voters approved Proposition 39 last November, they were voting for good clean-energy jobs, and energy efficiency projects in public schools and other public facilities that would save taxpayers money.
The proposition closed a corporate tax loophole and will provide up to $550 million annually in savings that, in the first four years, will go toward energy efficiency projects. An article that recently appeared in the industry press with the headline, “HVAC Contractor Ordered to Pay Nearly $1 Million for Violating Labor Law,” offers a cautionary tale for state lawmakers who are now considering how to spend those funds.
The article reports that California labor commissioner Julie Su ordered Ace Cooling & Heating Corporation, a contractor that installs heating and cooling systems for buildings, to pay nearly a million dollars in fines and wages to 10 employees for their work on a modernization project at El Camino Community College in Torrance.
In Los Angeles, the reins of power lie in the hands of a very few. By “power” I mean “electricity,” and there are only a few men and women whose job it is to procure and dispense it. Last week I wrote about the “Magic City,” and all the unseen infrastructure and work that goes into delivering the power and water that we city dwellers usually take for granted. There may be no better example of this unseen work than a certain unremarkable-looking Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building. Inside is a two-story main control room lined with a schematic map of the power system, a 180-degree wrap-around diagram that lights up where there are trouble spots and gives workers a robotic bird’s-eye view of L.A.
It is from this nondescript building that the LADWP brings in electricity from all over the American West, no easy task considering that our usage varies dramatically depending on the season and time of day.
Los Angeles, long fighting its reputation as one of the least green cities in the country, is making real changes to improve its standing.
City leaders and members of RePower LA gathered Monday, September 17, to recognize the City’s major strides in energy efficiency. The event took place at a South L.A. home while workers demonstrated an energy efficiency upgrade on the residence. It was part of a Department of Water and Power (LADWP) program championed by the RePower LA coalition. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmember Richard Alarcon, DWP General Manager Ron Nichols, business leaders and residents each spoke about the importance of energy efficiency and job creation, particularly in the current economy.
“We’re proud to announce a renewed commitment to energy efficiency from the Department of Water and Power,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “DWP has proposed to more than double its energy efficiency budget.
On Monday, September 17, RePower LA will be joined by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council members, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power general manager Ron Nichols, and others at the site of a South L.A. home undergoing an energy efficiency upgrade.
City leaders are now touting the programs, initially proposed by the RePower LA coalition, which are upgrading small business facilities and the homes of those struggling in the current economy. The customers reduce their energy use and save money, L.A. reduces its reliance on dirty coal-fired power plants, and members of our hardest-hit communities are able to access good career path jobs through the Utility Pre-Craft Trainee program of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18.
With such win-win-win potential, it is good to see LADWP and city leaders embracing energy efficiency as a central pillar of L.A.’s future.
The Board of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power took a huge step towards a greener, more efficient Los Angeles last Thursday. With a unanimous vote, the Board more than doubled LADWP’s investment in energy efficiency programs while also committing to sustaining that investment over the long term.
The Board set a goal of reducing energy consumption “at least 10%” with a soft target of 15% by 2020, pending the results of a new energy efficiency potential study. “These are significant increases and set LADWP on the path to be a leader in energy efficiency, allowing its customers to take advantage of this clean and cheap source of power,” NRDC’s Kristin Eberhard blogged the next day. “A robust energy efficiency budget can help create jobs and displace dirty coal in LADWP’s portfolio.” The vote came after over a year-and-a-half of organizing by a diverse coalition of environmentalists,