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Why a California city is trying to build the state’s last power plant


Glendale residents protested the approval of the construction of a fossil fuel-powered power plant in February.

Morgan Goodwin

Glendale in Los Angeles, which is home to Walt Disney Imagineering, and famous Brand Boulevard could become the last California town to have a fossil-powered power plant. This has upset residents as well as environmentalists, who urged the city invest in clean energy and slow down the climate crisis.

Glendale proposed spending $260 millions on five natural gas generators. The Grayson Power Plant will produce approximately 93 megawatts, which is sufficient to power an average city. After the state adopted legislation mandating 100% renewable energy by 2045, Glendale made this decision.

California is facing a wider problem as it tries to find ways to reduce the impact of climate change. The debate surrounding the plant has highlighted a bigger issue. The electricity sector accounts for about 16% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, accordingCalifornia Air Resources Board

The power plant lies less than one mile away from many schools and childcare centers. This will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions. already suffering from poor air quality. These people argue that the plant will cause more pollution over the years, and that funding the generators would only be used to finance the transition to cleaner sources of energy.

But Glendale Water & Power, the local state-run utility, has argued that its proposed thermal generation would only run at 14% capacity — significantly less polluting than the gas engines in place now — and provide vital back-up power for the city. According to the company, these generators can provide power during severe heat waves and in case transmission lines become unreliable.

Argument for natural gas as a ‘bridgefuel’

The city council approved an amendment that would halt any gas-fired unit purchases until December 31, 2008. Environmental groups hailed the move as a positive step, but they said it was a temporary delay.

Mark Young, the general manager of Glendale Water & Power, said the delay was disappointing and failed to consider the importance of providing reliable thermal generation for the city when residents need back up power.

“My job it to ensure everyone gets enough electricity at the right time.” Young stated that it feels like he’s the bad guy who loves thermal generation. “I don’t – I love reliable generation.”

Young stated that gas generators are only turned on in emergency situations. We are trying to find a balance between the energy needs of residents and the environment.

Grayson Power Plant can be found at the border between Glendale and Burbank.

Morgan Goodwin

As part of a broader assignment from the city to invest in clean energy, Glendale Water & Power is working to implement 75 megawatts of battery energy storage at the power plant. A virtual power plant is being developed by the utility that will produce 28 megawatts solar energy from solar panels installed at apartments and homes throughout the city.

Young claimed that utilities’ clean energy options were exhausted. This is mainly due to the lack of sufficient transmission capacity for power lines that can bring in sources beyond the L.A. Basin.

Young explained that Young was being very progressive with his vision. Young didn’t take credit. Natural gas should be used as a bridge for 100% clean energy.

But environmental groups don’t buy it.

Byron Chan is an associate attorney at the environmental law firm Earthjustice. He said more than 400 people protested the proposal of the utility to burn fossil fuels in 2018. He stated that since then the utility had not addressed all the community’s concerns.

Chan stated, “Given the facts about natural gas emissions, it is incredulous that we are making investments in fossil fuel in 2022 when clean energy options are becoming cheaper and more easily available.”

Additionally, environmental groups claim that the gas engine proposals won’t work after 2045. They will become unusable assets. However, Glendale Water & Power has argued the utility will eventually be able to run the units on green hydrogenIt is still in its embryonic stage and made by the electrolysis water of solar or wind power.

Morgan Goodwin, a Glendale resident and the senior director of Sierra Club’s Los Angeles chapter, said the main fight over the power plant is whether or not fossil fuel production plays a role in the solution to climate change.

Goodwin stated that “the answer is clear no.” But the message we receive from the fossil fuel sector still promotes bridge fuel benefits. If elected officials are prepared to declare that “No fossilfuels mean no fossil fuels,” then this is the model we would like to see on a national level.

“We’re asking Glendale Water & Power and other utilities to make some deep changes to how they operate,” Goodwin said. They have the chance to be leaders and courageous.