Building a Net Zero Future: Interview with LADWP's David Jacot
By Alex Spire
An interview with David Jacot, P.E.
Director of Efficiency Solutions
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
What does “Net Zero for All” mean to LADWP?
At LADWP, we are committed to creating a clean energy future for Los Angeles in a manner that is fair and equitable, both economically and in terms of environmental impacts, for all of our customer sectors. As a water provider in a drought-prone area, we are equally committed to creating a sustainable water supply, expanding our local water resources, and reducing reliance on purchased water imported over long distances.
We have worked to redesign our energy and water conservation programs to serve all of our customer sectors and support our larger efforts to decarbonize our power and water systems. Specifically, on the energy side, we have plans to increase investments for energy efficiency and conservation programs targeted toward renters in multi-family housing. We are also expanding our Community Solar Program to enable communities with low solar penetration to benefit from this clean, renewable resource.
Where does LADWP see itself in the Net Zero Future? How is LADWP’s role unique, compared to other Utilities?
As the nation’s largest municipal utility, LADWP sets the agenda on many fronts of the industry, particularly for public power utilities. Other municipal utilities in the state and nation follow our lead as we carve out new paths for renewable energy development, local solar power programs, electric vehicle adoption, energy efficiency programs, and other measures that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Other public utilities also look to LADWP for leadership regarding the adoption of new technologies, such as energy storage to capture excess solar power and make it available even when the sun isn’t shining. In addition, LADWP is different from privately owned utilities in that our customers are our shareholders. Our mandate centers on providing reliable power and competitive rates. For that reason, we carefully evaluate the costs and benefits of new technology before jumping in with both feet.
What do you wish people knew about LADWP?
LADWP is leading the way toward achieving a clean energy supply and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As of 2017, nearly one-third of our energy supply was derived from renewable resources and we reduced greenhouse gas emissions over 40 percent below the 1990 level, 14 years earlier than required by state legislation. We expect to be completely coal-free by 2025. We have aggressive goals for renewables, expanding electric vehicle adoption, energy efficiency, and other clean energy initiatives.
Looking forward, LADWP is transitioning to 100% clean energy. We have launched a groundbreaking study to determine which investments are necessary to achieve 100% renewables, or a 100% carbon-free power supply. This will be the most comprehensive renewable energy study by a utility serving a territory the size of Los Angeles. When completed (estimated in 2019/2020), we will have a thorough understanding of the costs, risks, infrastructure upgrades, resource availability, and other considerations necessary for achieving a net zero or 100% renewable portfolio.
What important conversations do you hope people will come away from the Net Zero conference having?
We hope participants will have an understanding of the various challenges to achieving Net Zero on a utility scale and the opportunities they can play by improving the energy efficiency of their own properties. At LADWP, we strive to walk the talk. We achieved LEED Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) certification for our headquarters, the John Ferraro Building, in 2015. This was a collaborative effort initiated by LADWP’s Green Team, which worked in partnership with our architects, engineers, Supply Chain, IT, and operation folks. A year later, through mindful conservation, we improved our energy and water use scores and achieved LEED Gold. We are also currently pursuing LEED for five of our Power System buildings.
If people were to make one behavioral change to support LADWP’s efforts, what would you recommend?
For individuals, be mindful of your energy use, especially during extreme heat, such as that which occurs in Los Angeles in July. Avoid using large appliances during afternoons and the early evening. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Keep the thermostat at 78 degrees. These behavioral changes will help save energy, reduce your bill, and reduce the demand on hot electrical equipment, which will help prevent an unplanned power outage.
For commercial, industrial or government/institutional customers, LADWP offers a variety of energy efficiency rebates and incentive programs designed to reduce energy use of a large building, facility or industrial complex. Visit http://www.ladwp.com/nrrp for additional information on all LADWP energy and water rebate programs.