L.A. City Council Votes Unanimously to Replace Natural Gas with Unproven Hydrogen Power

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to convert a natural gas power plant to a new hydrogen system that critics say may not provide enough power and could cause more environmental damage.

The proposal is part of a “Green New Deal” adopted by former mayor Eric Garcetti to shutter three natural gas plants in favor of “renewable” energy — over objections that solar and wind power would not be sufficient, and that the move would cost thousands of union jobs.

Garcetti stuck with his plan even after the state suffered electricity shortages in 2020 and after Democrats lost a local special election in which the plan was a key issue.

The city council voted to take the first steps to implement Garcetti’s plan, according to the Los Angeles Times:

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to move forward with an $800-million plan to convert the city’s largest gas-fired power plant to green hydrogen — a first-of-its-kind project that was hailed by supporters as an important step to solve the climate crisis but slammed by critics as a greenwashing boondoggle that will harm vulnerable communities.

The city’s ultimate goal is burning 100% green hydrogen — but [Department of Water and Power] officials have acknowledged the technology might not be ready right away. That means the initial fuel mix at Scattergood might include more planet-warming natural gas than hydrogen.

In public comments before the vote, critics from groups including Communities for a Better Environment, Pacoima Beautiful and the Sierra Club noted that although hydrogen doesn’t produce planet-warming carbon emissions when burned, it does generate lung-damaging nitrogen oxide pollution — much more than gas, at least using current technology.

The city’s goal is to produce 100% “clean” electricity by 2035 — an even more aggressive goal than the state’s target of 100% renewable by 2045, though a recent state analysis suggested there is no plan to achieve it.



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