A Big One for L.A.
We are going to get the United States off dirty fuels and onto clean energy. Of course, it won't happen overnight nor everywhere at once. Our success will come from winning hundreds, if not thousands, of victories -- big and small.
This is about one of the big ones.
Tomorrow, I'll be in Los Angeles to watch as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa officially announces that, within 12 years, the City of Angels will be entirely coal-free. Currently, L.A. gets almost 40 percent of its power from two old and notoriously dirty out-of-state coal plants -- the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona and the Intermountain Power Project in Utah.
It's impossible to overstate the significance of this announcement from the second-largest city in the U.S. But getting rid of coal is only part of the story. Los Angeles is also leading on clean energy.
Two years ago, L.A. was the first city in California to hit 20 percent clean energy. The city's new CLEAN LA Solar program (which allows local businesses, residents, and organizations to install renewable energy projects and sell the power they generate back to the utility) is the largest program of its kind in the nation. It's also expected to create 4,500 jobs and nearly $500 million in economic development for the city.
More jobs will be created as the city ramps up its already impressive energy-efficiency efforts. When the EPA released its annual ranking of cities with the most Energy Star certified buildings last week, Los Angeles topped the list -- as it has for the past five years.
Certainly, much of the credit goes to Mayor Villaraigosa. When he took office eight years ago, Los Angeles was getting almost half of its power from coal and only three percent from clean energy. When you fly into LAX and see hundreds of square miles of rooftops soaking up the Southern California sun, it seems obvious that rooftop solar is a huge opportunity for L.A. But it took a mayor with vision and determination to make it happen.
I'm proud to stand by Mayor Villaraigosa as he announces a coal-free Los Angeles on Friday. You can join us -- the event will be live-streamed. In the meantime, let the sun shine!