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S&P Global: L.A. Going Green With Hydrogen Electricity

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Article written by Siri Hedreen

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power California is considering a new resource plan that would involve retrofitting four natural gas-fired plants to run on green hydrogen as a backup power source.

The municipal utility presented a summary of the proposed Strategic Long-Term Resource Plan on Oct. 11, unveiling details of how Los Angeles plans to generate 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2035.

The proposal came after the Los Angeles City Council’s energy committee delayed a decision on whether to advance a project to retrofit Scattergood, the first generating station of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, or LADWP, for green hydrogen. The gas-fired plant is one of three slated for retirement by 2029 as California decarbonizes its power sector. However, environmental groups and at least one city council member have pushed back on the LADWP’s plans, first proposed in 2021, to combust hydrogen instead.

The use of green hydrogen in power generation is still nascent, but it could become economical for the first time with the new tax credits provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, according to one study. Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, or the separation of hydrogen and oxygen in water, powered by zero-carbon electricity. The fuel emits no CO2 when burned, motivating states and utilities to consider it as an alternative to fossil fuels.

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