Another California city drops gas peaker in favor of clean portfolio

(Greentech Media, 30 Jul 2019) Glendale’s municipal utility quickly got comfortable with big batteries, distributed energy, efficiency and a few reciprocating engines.

The Southern California city of Glendale officially dropped a $500 million gas peaker project that it nearly approved last spring, and instead picked up the mantle of clean energy leadership. 

The city council voted in April 2018 to pause development on the 262-megawatt repowering of the Grayson Power Plant and examine clean energy alternatives. Now, the municipal utility has completed an examination of 34 clean energy proposals and selected a diverse portfolio it says will meet reliability needs and save ratepayers $125 million compared to the old portfolio.

In other words, Glendale Water & Power (GWP) went through an energy transition in a little over a year.

"The future envisioned herein represents a complete transformation of the way GWP provides reliable, affordable and clean energy resources to the citizens of Glendale," the utility wrote in a new integrated resource plan approved last week.

When the earlier planning process started back in 2014, batteries were not on the menu of cost-effective options, so a recognized capacity need — in this case, the retirement of a plant that dates back to the 1940s — essentially guaranteed a gas plant solution.

"At that point in time, thinking about reliability, the storage market was still very much in its infancy and very expensive still," GWP General Manager Steve Zurn said in an interview.

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Greentech Media, 30 Jul 2019: Another California city drops gas peaker in favor of clean portfolio