How Los Angeles plans to achieve 100% renewable energy

By Agency

A file photo of people walking on the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Photo: AFP

The city of Los Angeles is giving itself 15 years to make the switch to 100% renewable energy. Construction of solar photovoltaic and wind power plants, development of heat pumps and electric cars are on the city's roadmap to achieve this goal.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has concluded that Los Angeles is capable of achieving 100% clean energy by 2035.

It will be interesting to see how a megalopolis of more than 18 million people goes about becoming this "green". Because if Los Angeles can do it, the pressure will be on other major US cities to be ambitious about their transition to renewables.

The goal is to eliminate all fossil fuels from Los Angeles' power supply. To achieve this, the plan includes the mass construction of solar photovoltaic plants (also called "solar farms") and wind turbines.

At the same time, solar panels on roofs, electric heat pumps in houses and electric cars in garages should abound.

For instance by 2035, Los Angeles should no longer need natural gas to produce its electricity. Hydrogen could be a credible alternative, although it is still very expensive.

Other technologies which are more affordable and proven, such as offshore wind turbines in the Pacific, are more likely to be used in the short term.

The goal is to have a base large enough to guarantee a year-round supply of electricity, day and night, without any blackouts, in a region where they are currently relatively frequent.

According to NREL's simulations, achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2035 should cost about US$86bil (RM355bil). It remains to be seen how this will affect the electricity bills of Los Angeles residents.

Most of these new installations will be outside the city, on land yet to be determined. Then it will be a matter of transporting all the energy produced to Los Angeles, a process which will require at least 10 years of work to establish.

A 100% clean electricity by 2035 is still a challenge, but one viewed as viable by authorities. – AFP Relaxnews

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