Join Our Campaign
for Clean Energy in Glendale
ONGOING – 2021 Updates
GEC continues to track GWP’s planning re: new or refurbished gas internal combustion engines at the Grayson campus, and will post updates as they occur. We are also watching the progress of current and future local, Clean Energy Projects, which were born out of our community’s clean energy campaign.
1 year since City Council gave approval to GWP to begin negotiations for the first four local clean-energy projects
While GWP has made progress this past year greening the Glendale grid, with the Eland Solar & Battery Project and Open Mountain Geothermal contract, and has been moving forward with its work at the Grayson site preparing for potential future gas power-generating units as well as a large battery array, it hasn’t worked as quickly on other proposals that could eliminate the need for those multiple gas-burning units. GEC is particularly concerned over the slow pace of the local clean-energy projects that are part of GWP’s power portfolio. These projects include the creation of a Virtual Power Plant with Sunrun, energy efficiency and demand response projects with Lime Energy and Franklin Energy, and building solar and battery storage on city-owned sites. We’re still awaiting signed contracts for these projects.
It is imperative that these projects move forward with a sense of urgency and that the public is updated on a regular basis. The July 23, 2019, City Council motion approving the IRP requires GWP to report on developing clean-energy resources, options to reduce or eliminate the need for new gas power units, and transitioning to clean energy by 2030s.
GEC is also urgently advocating for GWP to put forward another round of local clean-energy RFPs (Requests for Proposals) to garner additional clean-energy projects (especially in the commercial sector). We do NOT want to see GWP come to City Council with the request to install the 5 Wartsila gas-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) units (93 MW of new gas generation) at the Grayson site without having explored, in a robust manner, all of our other clean-energy options, especially local opportunities. It is time for the public to remind our city leaders that we expect GWP to act with a sense of urgency to build a fossil-free Glendale.
We want GWP to:
(1) move forward NOW with our current clean-energy projects,
(2) open another round of local clean-energy RFPs (including addressing commercial sector ), and
(3) keep the public informed with regular, transparent progress updates.
Thanks to all of the hard work, input, and continuous pressure from the community, in a meeting on July 23, City Council placed conditions on GWP’s proposal for Glendale’s energy plans, and asked staff to push for more renewable power, transmission, and other ways to reduce the need for natural gas generation. Thank you to all who played a part! The final decision is still to come. We’ll need your participation as we continue to work toward our goal of NO NEW GAS in Glendale. We hope you’ll keep working with us as we push for sustainable energy policy for our city!
Get GWP to hold off on any new gas power at the Grayson power plant until it has fully exhausted all clean-energy solutions and other options.
In 2018, after months of public outcry, the residents of Glendale succeeded in getting City Council to vote 4–1 to pause a gas-plant expansion (which they call a “repowering”) at the Grayson site in South Glendale, and first explore clean-energy alternatives. But the fight is far from over! Despite clear public concerns about air quality and climate change, Glendale Water and Power is still pushing gas. City Council will vote in July on a new energy plan, which could include spending hundreds of millions of dollars on up to 93 mw megawatts of gas. If this plan passes, this would almost certainly be the LAST gas plant built in the state of California. Not the legacy we want for our city! Instead of gas, we should be moving as quickly as possible to 100% clean energy. Current technologies, for the first time, are allowing communities to be ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE while enjoying ENHANCED RELIABILITY at LOWER COST. Let City Council know that we want Glendale to be a leader, not a dinosaur. No new gas in Glendale! Read the Sierra Club & Glendale Environmental Coalition’s OPEN LETTER to Glendale City Council critiquing the GWP proposal and suggesting a path forward.
Here are ways to
WHAT CAN I DO?
1: Stay Informed! Join Our Action Network
GEC keeps everyone in the loop via our Action Network emails. If you haven’t already, add your contact info so you can STAY POSTED on meetings, rallies, action updates, and ways to volunteer!
WHAT CAN I DO?
2: Join Our Facebook Group / Get Social
Join our FACEBOOK GROUP to be part of the discussion and find out about Grayson-related news, read articles on climate and waste policy, and stay in the loop on the goings-on at our monthly meetings! Visit and Like our PUBLIC FACEBOOK PAGE, and share relevant posts and tweets with your social circle!
WHAT CAN I DO?
3. Join the Virtual Power Plant
Be Part of the Solution! A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is a creative alternative to centralized power-generating plants. It’s a cluster of individual sites (such as homes)—each with solar panels and a high-capacity battery—networked together. The utility subsidizes the cost of the battery and/or the solar panels, and in return, the property owner agrees to let the utility tap into the energy stored in the battery when demand peaks. The property owner also keeps a guaranteed minimum of backup power to run critical things like the fridge and lights. Instead of building a gas “peaker” unit just for infequent peak-demand episodes, or paying exorbitant amounts of money to bring in outside power, the city can turn to its own residents. We’d have a local clean-energy power bank, and a more reliable and resilient system! GEC has already identified hundreds of Glendale residents who may be interested in participating in a VPP once it’s available. Let us know if you would like to add your name to this growing list.
Goals, Arguments & Background
Stop Grayson Campaign
Our Goal: Get GWP to hold off on any new gas power at Grayson until it has fully exhausted all other remedies.
These other remedies include (i) utility-scale battery storage and Virtual Power Plant projects short-listed from the Clean Energy RFP, (ii) market-leading energy-efficiency and demand-response programs, which will likely require a new request for proposals to the clean-energy market, and (iii) renegotiated transmission and power-sharing arrangements with Los Angeles. While GWP works on these initiatives, it should remove the old units at Grayson and complete its environmental remediation of the site. If by 2023—after it has gained experience with clean energy and explored all possibilities with Los Angeles—GWP still sees no clear path to maintaining a stable grid without some gas backup, the issue could be brought back to City Council for consideration. GEC is confident that by that point, gas will not be needed.joint. For more detail, please read our GEC – Sierra Club letter to Council critiquing the GWP proposal and suggesting a path forward.
Our Argument: Why Clean Energy Is the Right Direction for Glendale
• The world is approaching a climate tipping point, and our way of life and very existence are at stake. Business-as-usual approaches are no longer acceptable. GWP must demonstrate that it has exhausted all other options before asking us to commit to investment in new fossil-fuel power, something it has failed to do.
• The Los Angeles metro area was recently ranked #1 in the United States for deaths linked to air pollution, and pollution is getting worse. Adding a gas-fired power plant will only worsen the situation. Grayson is within two miles of several elementary and middle schools (Keppel, Franklin, Edison, Toll, Columbus, Jefferson), a large day-care facility (Disney), nursing-care facilities (Dreier, Broadway Manor), key employers (Disney, Dreamworks), and residential neighborhoods (Pelanconi, Grand Central, Riverside Rancho, Fremont Park). We must do everything possible to avoid adding to already dangerous levels of ozone-causing emissions and particulate matter associated with asthma, heart disease, cancer, impaired cognitive development in children, dementia, and other serious health conditions.
• Clean-energy technologies are mainstream power options and in many cases are now cheaper and more versatile than natural gas. Just over a year ago, GWP scoffed at the idea of using battery storage as a solution to meet summer afternoon peak-power needs, saying the technology was not ready or was too expensive. A year later, GWP has embraced batteries and is considering a large battery installation at Grayson—but claims that the size is limited to 75 MW. GWP continues to reject the idea that rooftop solar could make a major contribution to Glendale’s power shortfall. In doing so, it ignores recent price declines and data showing that Glendale has enough rooftop space to meet most, if not all, of its power needs. GWP needs to maximize the potential of these technologies before considering any new gas.
• The plan to repower Grayson assumes no new transmission, and GWP continues to argue that new transmission is nearly impossible. GWP acknowledges that it will need additional transmission to comply with SB 100 (which mandates 100% zero-carbon energy by 2045), but instead of facing its obligations, GWP keeps making excuses. GWP needs to explore all possible avenues to increase transmission, including positioning itself to take advantage of the many projects Los Angeles is pursuing.
• One of GWP’s key arguments for gas at Grayson has to do with the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs). It points to California’s goal to get 5 million EVs on the road by 2030, and assumes this will mean increased peak-power demand. But that argument ignores the potential for energy-efficiency programs to offset this demand, or for demand-response technologies and time-of-use rate plans to shift demand to off-peak hours, when it can be easily met without building new capacity. Utility managers understand that the cheapest power is the power we don’t use. Until GWP maximizes the potential of these approaches, it should not be talking about adding gas generators.
• It has been four years since the last gas plant was approved in California, and it’s unlikely that there will be any others. Los Angeles recently put a moratorium on new gas plants. If Glendale goes ahead with the Grayson repowering, we will have the dubious distinction of being the last community in the state of California to invest in gas power. Is that the legacy we want for our city?
• Not only would a gas plant be environmentally reckless, it would also be financially irresponsible. In a recent report, the Rocky Mountain Institute forecast that within two decades it will be more expensive to run existing gas plants than to build new clean-energy systems. GWP originally assumed it could finance Grayson with a 30-year bond, but now says it will need to pay off the project over 20 years. But that just increases the annual debt cost and will inevitably translate into higher utility rates. GWP is also underestimating the costs it will eventually have to pay the state for carbon credits, and ignoring the strong possibility that the federal government will introduce a carbon tax over the next several years. Investing in fossil-fuel technology is a risky strategy that will lock us into high and rising utility rates.
• GWP talks about reliability and spreads fear about the potential for blackouts if we fail to repower Grayson. What it ignores are the risks that come with a centralized system that depends on external fuel sources. Ever since the blowout at Aliso Canyon, the gas-distribution system in Southern California has been under pressure and subject to disruption. Gas curtailments are a new risk factor GWP has not addressed. Grayson is also highly vulnerable to a major earthquake, which could sever the pipeline supplying gas to the plant, or cause flooding at the point where the Verdugo Wash joins the L.A. River. Distributed energy systems—based on rooftop and carport solar, batteries, energy efficiency, and demand response—provide the highest level of reliability for Glendale residents and businesses.
From 262 MW to Today
Impact: GEC Has Made a Difference!
- GWP originally proposed a 262 megawatt all-gas project to replace aging generators at the Grayson power plant. GEC was founded in 2017 to fight that “repowering” project. GEC raised public awareness, leading to large rallies and many citizens speaking out in opposition through emails, phone calls, and letters, and at City Council meetings.
- Thanks to the combined efforts of GEC members, supporters, and partners, in April 2018 the City Council paused the project and instructed GWP to look at clean-energy alternatives.
- GWP did this by issuing a request for clean-energy proposals, aka the Clean Energy RFP. Unfortunately, the RFP was not well marketed and resulted in a less-than-robust outcome. GWP did get a range of proposals for solar and battery projects, but the RFP appears to have fallen short in the critical areas of energy efficiency and demand response. We are advocating for a second RFP to address these solutions.
- Our efforts also led GWP to conduct a public opinion survey and series of community listening sessions facilitated by the Rocky Mountain Institute, as part of GWP’s Integrated Resource Plan process. We await the results of these efforts.
- More recently, our advocacy has convinced the City to propose setting up an Office of Sustainability. Details have not yet been presented to City Council but are expected soon.
- Working with common purpose, we have fundamentally shifted the dialogue around environmental issues in Glendale. As a measure of our success, GWP has already scaled back the Grayson project to “no more than” 100 megawatts of gas—still too much, but a move in the right direction! We will keep pushing our leaders to make sustainability a top priority and a lens through which to evaluate every investment and policy decision in the City.
Press: GEC & Grayson in the News
JULY 2019 – Los Angeles Times Environmentalists balk as Glendale power plant officials unveil ‘portfolio of tomorrow’
MAR 2019—Glendale News Press: After Los Angeles’ decision not to repower 3 gas plants, Glendale officials urged to follow suit at Grayson
APR 2018—Glendale News Press: City Council votes to look at renewable-energy alternatives for Grayson plant
APR 2018—Cleantechmedia.com: Glendale Shelves $500 Million Gas Plant to Examine Clean Alternatives
APR 2018—Earthjustice.org: Glendale Hits the Brakes on 500 MIL Gas Fired Power Plant
APR 2018—The Horizon and the Skyline.com: Glendale Puts Hold on Grayson Re-powering
MAR 2018—Sierra Club, Angeles Chapter: Gray skies over Glendale? Join us for April 10 rally to oppose power plant expansion
AUG 2018—Los Angeles Daily News: Glendale Environmental Coalition Ditches Protests for Google Mapping and Crowd Sourcing Grayson Power Plant Alternatives
JULY 2018—Glendale News Press Op-ed by Dan Brotman & Michael Beck: People Powering Glendale with Virtual Power Plant
APR 2018—Knock-La.com: Perhaps the end of “dinosaur” fuel for powering Glendale
JAN 2018—Glendale News Press: Residents rally outside Glendale City Hall against Grayson Power Plant project
JAN 2018—Glendale News Press: City Council requests comprehensive review of renewable alternatives for Grayson Power Plant
JAN 2018—Glenoaks Canyon HOA: A Look at Glendale’s Biggest Issue – The Grayson Power Plant
DEC 2017—ANCAGlendale.org: ANCA Glendale Meets with Glendale Environmental Coalition
OCT 2017—Los Angeles Times: Residents demand more study of renewable-energy alternatives to Grayson Power Plant renovation
OCT 2017—El Vaquero (Glendale Community College): Skepticism Mounts Over Grayson Repowering Plan
AUG 2017—Glendale New Press: The case against Grayson repowering by Dan Brotman
Supporters of GEC’s
Clean Energy (Stop Grayson) Campaign:
Jose Huizar, Los Angeles City Council District 14—Statement of Support: “The Councilmember’s staff asked the Glendale Council to support the recommendation of the Glendale Water and Power Commissioners, pause the project, and solicit green alternatives to a gas-powered plant.”
Glendale Coalition for a Better Government—Support Statement: “The Coalition will work to prevent the ‘repowering’ of the Grayson Plant from a fiscal perspective. The Coalition is working with Dan Brotman, Founder of the Environmental Coalition. Brotman is working from the environmental aspect, the Coalition from a fiscal aspect…both working toward the same goal: A cleaner, less costly repowering!!”
CA Assemblywoman Laura Friedman—Grayson Power Plant project should be shelved (Op-ed, Glendale News Press, June 2018): “I want to focus on the economic risks posed by this plant because it’s important to understand that a healthy environment and a good economy go hand in hand today, while investments in fossil fuels are increasingly taking money out of our wallets and holding our economy back. To put it bluntly: Expanding the Grayson Power Plant will place an unacceptable cost burden on Glendale families when cheaper, safer alternatives exist….Glendale should halt plans for Grayson, bring in external consultants to develop a clean-energy alternative and move our city into the cost-effective, clean-energy future Glendale deserves.”
CA State Senator Anthony Portantino & Susana Reyes—sum up the problems with the plant expansion with their letter to the editor of the LA Times: “In short, the Grayson proposal would increase emissions and particulates that would adversely affect our climate and potentially impact the health of children at Benjamin Franklin Elementary, Mark Keppel Elementary and the Disney Children’s Center, as well as elderly residents of nearby Pelanconi Estates. The DEIR predicts global warming emissions will increase nearly seven-fold. This is the equivalent to 90,000 additional cars on Glendale’s roads….As recently proposed by Councilman Zareh Sinanyan, Glendale residents and ratepayers deserve that alternatives be thoroughly examined separately and independently from the Grayson EIR process. Given the severity of the environmental concerns and the cost involved with Grayson it can be argued that a multipronged renewables portfolio would be less expensive to implement and would meet California’s increasingly stringent emissions requirements.”