This week the Los Angeles City Council voted to transition to 100% clean energy by 2035, in line with President Biden’s national goals and a decade earlier than the city originally planned.
By 2035 Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) officials are aiming for the city’s utility to produce twice the amount of electricity it currently does in order to account for the full electrification of buildings and transport. This huge rollout of renewable energy generation is expected to be accompanied by a keystone role for renewable hydrogen, ammonia and synthetic methane for combustion-based power generation.
NREL’s LA100 study
The vote follows NREL’s LA100 study released in March, which lays out a pathway to 98% clean energy for LA by the end of the decade. While rooftop solar on homes and apartment complexes is expected to play the major role in this push, the use of hydrogen-derived fuels to power industry, heavy transport and to provide an alternative fuel for gas turbines is a likely key component in the overall plan:
All LA100 scenarios build in-basin combustion-based resources to help meet the last 10% – 20% of electricity demand that is not easily met by low-cost wind, solar, and batteries… The fuel for new in-basin resources varies by scenario [and includes] renewable electricity-derived hydrogen fuel, or hydrogen derivatives, such as synthetic methane or ammonia.
There is considerable uncertainty regarding hydrogen’s long-term cost and commercial availability, as well as generator modifications needed to use these fuels. There is also uncertainty as to how long it will take to develop infrastructure for transportation and storage. To reduce hydrogen costs, the City of LA could partner with industry as part of economy-wide decarbonization where hydrogen-derived fuels are used to power industry, non-electrified transportation, and serve as feedstocks for chemicals and materials that currently rely on fossil fuels.LA100: The Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (Executive Summary), March 2021
Uncertainties noted by the study’s authors (NREL, University of Southern California & Colorado State University) demonstrate the need for hydrogen and ammonia stakeholders to participate in LADWP’s current RFI process for green hydrogen pathways. The potential for industry partnerships to play a significant role is also noted by the authors.
RFIs close 7 October: AEA Members & supporters please respond
As mentioned, we ask our Members and supporters to engage constructively with LADWP’s open RFI process, with submissions closing 7 October. Official details of the RFI (formally 8.5.21-Power-SAL – Green Hydrogen Pathways for Supporting 100% Renewable Energy) and questions for stakeholders to answer can be downloaded here. Please make use of Ammonia Energy‘s archive of reporting on the use of ammonia in power generation, along with any other relevant materials.