“Southern California has been able to withstand the heat wave mainly due to municipal power contracts for imported coal and nuclear power, as well as generation from its local gas-fired power plants. Northern California, meanwhile, suffered the brunt of the blackouts due to green power mandates.” “Soon, many Californians may have to install stationary gas or propane electrical generators or portable gasoline generators to withstand regular outages, but the poor will not be able to afford them.” About 75 percent of Los Angeles electricity demand is being met by imported coal power and local gas-fired power plants during peak hours of the August triple-digit heat wave.
Los Angeles, not part of the state energy grid, operates its own power plants, transmission lines, and distribution grid. The municipality Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) reports its reliance on:
- Natural gas – 34% (three gas power plants in Los Angeles)
- Green power – 33% (wind-Tehachapi, CA; solar, Kern County)
- Coal power – 19% (from Utah and Arizona)
- Nuclear power – 9% (from Arizona)
- Hydropower – 5% (Hoover Dam, Castaic Lake)
Pollution from coal power plant emissions in Utah and Arizona do not create smog in Los Angeles, which is important because the LA Basin traps air emissions from an inversion layer. Conversely, Arizona and Utah do not have basin topographies but are plains states where natural winds dilute air pollution instead of trapping it (“the solution to pollution is dilution”).
So, despite Los Angeles’s quixotic goal to shift to 100 percent green power by 2045, the City has imported coal power and exported any air pollution to areas where it is dissipated instead of trapped.