Los Angeles Mayor Proposes Solar Energy Plan

Los Angeles’ Major Antonio Villaraigosa announced a plan earlier this week that will make L.A. one of the leading renewable energy cities in the country. His proposal involves getting 10% of the entire city’s energy needs to solar power by the year 2020. The goal of this plan is to get the Department of Water and Power (DWP) to be less dependent on fossil fuels. Also, Los Angeles has a huge abundance of sun that is currently not being utilized. This is an extremely ambitious plan considering they will need to have 1,280 megawatts of solar energy by the target year.

Wind Farm Turbine
Photo by clownfish.

Where will they go?

That’s the biggest question a lot of people have is where are they going to put all of the solar panels and where are they going to put them. 500 megawatts of the total electricity would come from a solar energy generator built in the Mojave Desert that would be funded privately. There would also be programs set up to help low-income families add solar panels on their houses. The last part of the energy would go to adding solar panels to the Department of Water and Power buildings. Voters would be allowed to decide on whether this part of the plan actually comes into fruition.

The Cost

This plan seems picture perfect forgetting one thing, how much will it cost? All the details are not yet worked out, but it looks inevitable that the residence’s electricity cost will go up. There is also a question as to whether they will be getting all the tax credits that currently predict to receive. If some of the tax credits are not realized, the price could go up even further. The cost may not be as bad as it seems. The federal government is going to begin enacting a carbon tax , thus raising the cost of using coal as a source of energy. Currently, the DWP is largely dependent on coal and is their cheapest energy source and that cost would go up regardless.

This plan is definitely a good step in the right direction. There seems to be more politics behind the bill at the moment. Hopefully the city is able to a large portion of its energy needs on solar and other renewable energy sources in the future. Maybe other cities will see the financial/environmental benefits and propose similar legislation.

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  1. We need more forward thinking mayors like this. What is the cost of not doing it? Wind and solar – we need more.

    • Andrew
    • December 1st, 2008

    There is a great new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence NOW by Jeff Wilson. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in alternative energy. http://www.themanhattanprojectof2009.com

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