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LA100: The Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study

NREL is providing rigorous, integrated engineering-economic analysis to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) through the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (LA100).

LA is one of several U.S. local governments setting monumental, measurable goals to transform their energy economies. At the direction of its city council, LA has embarked on a plan to modernize its electricity system infrastructure—aiming for a 100% renewable energy supply by 2045, along with aggressive electrification targets for buildings and vehicles.

But with great ambition comes great need for actionable data and analysis, which NREL is providing through LA100.

Study Objectives

For LA100, NREL is evaluating a range of future scenarios to equip LA decision makers with answers to these questions:

  • What are the pathways and costs to achieve a 100% renewable electricity supply while electrifying key end uses and maintaining LADWP’s current high degree of reliability?
  • What is the impact on the environment?
  • How might the economy respond to such a change?
  • How can environmental justice communities be part of the solution?

Study results are slated for release in 2021.

Uniquely Detailed, Integrated Approach

LA100 presents an analytical undertaking of unprecedented scale and complexity. While other studies have explored specific aspects of the 100% renewable puzzle, LA100 is the most comprehensive, detailed analysis to date of an entirely renewable-based electric grid as complex as LA's power system.

The real-world impact of approaching 100% renewables cannot be analyzed using just one method or model—so LA100 takes a new approach. The study uniquely integrates diverse capabilities across the lab, including detailed electricity demand modeling, economic impact analysis, distribution grid modeling, and life-cycle greenhouse gas analysis.

High-Performance Computing at Scale

This multidisciplinary team is leveraging NREL's high-performance computer to:

  • Run millions of simulations of thousands of buildings to examine how adoption of new design elements, equipment, or appliances could change how much and when people use electricity
  • Explore opportunities to electrify different transportation modes and assess when and where people might charge electric vehicles
  • Use sophisticated aerial scans and customer adoption models for each and every roof in LA to see how much rooftop solar could be installed
  • Apply state-of-the-art utility planning tools at unprecedented scale to examine costs and benefits of a wide range of technologies, including photovoltaics, wind, concentrating solar power, geothermal, biomass, nuclear, battery/pumped-hydro/hydrogen storage, and demand response
  • Perform detailed analysis of site-specific data for both the distribution and transmission network to ensure new resources won’t overload lines
  • Simulate how different technologies could be used, including energy storage, to ensure demand is met even when the sun doesn’t shine.

Knowledge Exchange with LA Stakeholders

This integrated approach is not limited to the modeling methodology. NREL is also committed to supporting knowledge exchange with those who know LA best by collaborating with the LA100 Advisory Group.

The group comprises local stakeholders representing neighborhood councils, industry, key customers, academia, city government, and more—so it reflects the distinct perspectives and feedback necessary to enable an economic and equitable energy transition for LA. These discussions further tailor NREL’s analysis to constituents’ needs, bridging the relationship between research and community concerns.

More Information

For additional information about LA100, including background on the LA City Council motions and the LA100 Advisory Group, see the LADWP website.

Jaquelin Cochran

Manager, Grid Systems Group