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Project to Give L.A. Record-Cheap Solar Power Stymied by DWP Labor Union Concerns

The Beacon solar project in Kern County that delivers electricity to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is seen in this undated photo. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The Beacon solar project in Kern County that delivers electricity to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is seen in this undated photo. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles has been sitting on a contract for record-cheap solar power for more than a month — and city officials declined to approve it Tuesday because of concerns raised by the city-run utility’s labor union, which is still fuming over Mayor Eric Garcetti’s decision to shut down three gas-fired power plants.

Under the 25-year contract with developer 8minute Solar Energy, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power would pay less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour — a number city officials and independent experts say would be the lowest price ever paid for solar power in the United States, and cheaper than the cost of electricity from a typical natural gas-fired power plant.

In addition to 400 megawatts of solar power, the Eland project would include at least 200 megawatts of lithium-ion batteries, capable of storing solar power during the day and injecting it into the grid for four hours each night.

The combined price to L.A. ratepayers of the solar and storage would be 3.3 cents per kilowatt-hour — also a record low for this type of contract.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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