LA100 Study Points to No-Regrets Options Toward 100% Renewables for LA (Text Version)

This is a text version of the video " LA100 Study Points to No-Regrets Options Toward 100% Renewables for LA."

Crosswalk sign counting down: 3, 2, 1.

The wait is over.

Los Angeles city skyline. An animated Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study logo appears onscreen.

After more than three years of detailed analysis, NREL has released LA100: the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study. 

Aerial shots of Los Angeles neighborhoods and power lines. The words reliable, 100% renewable energy, and 2045 appear onscreen.

And it points to no-regrets steps the City of LA could take this decade to achieve its ambitious goal of reliable, 100% renewable energy by 2045—or even earlier.

Shot of a Los Angeles street, followed by a satellite image of the United States and a montage of various renewable energy technologies.

With valuable insights for the rest of the United States on how to meet national goals for decarbonizing the power sector by 2035.

Data visualization of the Los Angeles power system. Shot of the LADWP headquarters, followed by shots of community members.

Our experts ran more than 100 million simulations to evaluate different scenarios for how LADWP’s complex power system could evolve—incorporating vital input from community members every step of the way.

Montage of different customers interacting with energy technologies, including f a person charging an electric vehicle, rooftop solar panels, and air conditioning.

So what did we find? Starting with looking at opportunities on the customer side— the study shows significant benefits from energy efficiency and electrification in terms of improving greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, and public health, and emphasizes the critical role of customer demand flexibility to reduce per-unit electricity costs and contribute to reliability.

Montage of utility-scale energy infrastructure, including utility-scale solar arrays, wind turbines, and transmission lines.

When it comes to the power system, near-term options include rapid deployment of new solar, wind, batteries, and transmission, in or outside of the city—paired with smart-grid operational practices that maximize the efficiency of these investments.

Shots of energy planners and a mobile phone with a calendar. The words 2045, 2035, and 2030 appear onscreen.

And while the study specifically considers 2045 or 2035 as target years for reaching 100%, results show that LA can make significant progress by 2030.

Shots of solar panels and wind turbines, followed by a shot of a traditional power plant. The words "77%-99% reductions in power-sector emissions" appear onscreen.

Including reaching 77% to 99% renewable and zero-carbon energy—so it’s possible to get most of the way there in the next decade, while achieving significant reductions in power-sector emissions.

Shots of utility workers, followed by wind, solar, and large-scale battery storage. The words "73%-92%" appear onscreen.

But what about getting all the way to 100%? Wind and solar—enabled by battery storage—provide the majority of energy in all the scenarios studied.

Montage of electricity infrastructure, including distribution and transmission lines, followed by a wildfire.

Now, that may seem like a given. But LA100 also made reliability a fundamental requirement for the 100% renewable grid—to ensure it won’t fail under extreme events, like wildfires that could take out transmission lines.

Shot of utility workers, followed by a large hydrogen-fueled storage tank with wind turbines behind it. Shot of a stopwatch.

To maintain reliability, all the study scenarios call for some type of renewably fueled combustion turbine located within the city that can come online within minutes and run for several days.

Shot of the Los Angeles skyline at night, followed by a montage of power disruptions.

This type of resource would be used infrequently—but history has proven it would be vital to keeping the lights on during periods of lower wind and solar, extremely high demand, or unplanned events like transmission outages.

Shot of a finish line flag, followed by the word "100%" and a montage of renewable energy technologies. Shot of a calendar and coins stacking up.

Here, the study points to a big challenge in the final stretch toward 100%: finding a renewable resource that serves this role. There are several viable options—including biofuels or new hydrogen technologies—and other possibilities that haven’t been explored yet, like multi-day demand response programs—but these solutions vary in terms of costs and commercial maturity.

Shot of a group of community members.

And different communities may have different preferences.

Montage of different energy technologies, followed by a man walking down an LA street and LADWP utility workers.

Having a range of options could keep costs down—for LADWP and its customers—while LA finds localized solutions to this longer-term question.

Shot of a capitol building, followed by aerial shots over Los Angeles neighborhoods and a man and child in a wind farm.

And what about the community’s concerns about creating jobs, cleaner air, and environmental justice. LA100 has many more insights into what it will take to achieve an equitable, reliable clean-energy future in LA—and beyond.

An animated Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study logo appears onscreen with the URL maps.nrel.gov/la100.

Dive into the study results on our website.