Environment & Science

City Controller releases audit on DWP efforts to reach renewable energy goals

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A new audit says the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power barely reached renewable energy goals in the past and may not reach them in the future without a clear financial plan.

The audit centers on the question: How much green will it take for a power company to go green?

LA City Controller Wendy Greuel released the report. She says the city-owned utility needs to draft a roadmap to reach its renewable energy goals and a plan to tell ratepayers how much it’ll cost to get there.

“Although they reached the 20 percent this last year, it was by hook and crook and a little bit of luck and it’s not sustainable going forward,” she says.

Ron Nichols, the DWP’s new general manager, says he’s proud of reaching last year’s renewables goal.

“A win is a win,” notes Nichols.

But this year the DWP is falling behind. On top of that, state regulators are setting a new goal. By the end of this decade, all California utilities must try to draw a third of their power from renewable sources.

“We’re entering new territory,” says Nichols. “Now for the first time every utility is facing that target competing for new resources.”

So the DWP's costs could rise as the competition for the renewable energy increases. Greuel says investing in renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal now may save the DWP money in the future.