Los Angeles is one of the last places in California still burning coal for electricity — and if all goes according to plan, it could become one of the country’s first major cities to nearly eliminate fossil fuels from its power supply.
In a first-of-its-kind study commissioned by the city and released Wednesday, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded L.A. is capable of achieving 98% clean energy within the next decade and 100% by 2035, meeting one of President Biden’s most ambitious climate goals. And it can do so without causing blackouts or disrupting the economy, the federal research lab found, undercutting two of the most common arguments used by opponents of climate action.
The path forward for the next decade is clear, NREL found: Build solar farms, wind turbines and batteries as fast as possible. Get solar panels on rooftops, electric cars in garages and electric heat pumps in homes. And invest in energy efficiency and “demand response” programs that pay people to use electricity during times of day when solar and wind power are plentiful.
The benefits would be immense: not only helping to counteract the climate crisis, but also slashing deadly air pollution from cars, trucks, power plants and gas furnaces, much of it concentrated in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
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