• 03.20.13

Los Angeles To Ditch Coal Power Completely By 2025

The city will reduce demand and convert to natural gas, showing that real work on better climate and energy policy might come from the city level, not the feds.

Score one for the growing camp that believes cities can make a bigger impact on climate change than the federal government: Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced this week that the city will eliminate coal power entirely from its electrical grid by 2025.


L.A. already uses quadruple the amount of renewable energy sources compared to before Villaraigosa took office in 2005. But the city relies more on coal power–specifically, the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona and the Intermountain Power Project (IPP) in Utah–than many other cities. Today, L.A. sources 39% of its power from the two plants.

Over the next 12 years, the city will gradually end its contracts with the plants, transitioning to cleaner energy in the process. As part of a new amendment to L.A.’s contract with IPP, the power provider will build a natural gas plant by 2020 that complies with state emissions standards. No word, however, on where the rest of the city’s power will come from–though the city has said that increased energy efficiency and reliance on smart meters will help ease demand.

In practical terms, L.A.’s move means that emissions from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will drop 59% below 1990 levels, while citywide emissions will dip 40% below 1990 levels. That’s a bigger reduction than any other major city in the U.S. has been able to achieve.

Other big cities: Take note. If L.A. can do this, there’s no reason why you can’t too.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.