Topline: Los Angeles’s public utility struck a deal on Tuesday with developer 8Minute Renewables to build the largest solar and battery energy storage system in the U.S., which officials and environmental activists say will provide the city with cheaper and cleaner energy as a state law mandates it have 100% renewable energy by 2045.
- The sprawling Eland Solar and Storage Center will be able to capture solar energy during the day and store it so it can be distributed at night or on cloudy days.
- The city estimates the facility will be able to power 283,330 homes across Los Angeles, making up 7% of the city’s total electricity needs.
- San Francisco-based 8Minute Renewables agreed to have the plant, which will be located in the Mojave desert in Kern County, California, up and running no later than Dec. 31, 2023.
- The city of Glendale will also receive 12.5% of the total solar and battery storage.
- It is unclear how much the city is paying 8Minute Renewables for the project.
- The solar power and energy storage is priced at 3.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, a record low for this type of contract, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Key Background: State law mandates that California get its energy from 100% renewable sources by 2045. Los Angeles already gets 31% from clean sources. With the Eland plant, that number would go up to about 38%.
Key Critic: While the deal was championed by the Sunrise Movement and other environmental activists who say that municipal governments need to shift toward clean energy in order to avert a climate disaster, the labor union for the city’s public utility, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, initially had concerns the project, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A deal was eventually signed, as the project is expected to create 700 jobs over a 14-month construction period and employ 40 long-term employees when in service. Although, tensions still remain between the union and the DWP over larger issues pertaining to the city’s shift away from natural gas, according to the Los Angeles Times.
What’s Next: The agreement still needs to be approved by the city council.