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Southern California Energy Takes Two Green Steps

The notoriously smoggy region makes strides to reduce pollution this week, with city of Los Angeles buying green energy for 70,000 homes, and a nationwide survey showing SoCal residents have made the most of energy efficiency programs.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will purchase 25 megawatts of renewable power from Vancouver-based electricity marketer Powerex starting on April 1. The purchase is part of a plan, introduced by Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to increase the city's renewable power supply to 20 percent by the year 2010.

"This is an excellent opportunity to immediately increase the amount of clean, renewable energy for the City of Los Angeles," said H. David Nahai, president of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. "LADWP is taking a multi-pronged approach to meeting its RPS commitment of 20 percent by 2010."

Nahai added that these purchases are used to increase the city's renewable energy supply in the short term, while city officials make plans to build more renewable power facilities for the future.

The purchase brings LADWP's renewable energy supply to 8 percent of its power generation portfolio, and provides for the purchase of 50 megawatts, of renewable energy annually -- enough power to serve approximately 70,000 homes each year. During the first year, LADWP will purchase renewable energy from several small hydro-electric generating facilities in the Pacific Northwest, and in future years the energy may be generated by other sources, including biomass, landfill gas and wind.

In addition to a steady increase in renewable energy in Los Angeles, survey results by utility companies found that Southern California Edison customers achieved the highest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through energy-efficiency programs of any area nationwide.

SoCal Edison reported that total customer response to its energy-efficiency programs over the past five years has saved four billion kilowatt-hours, enough energy to power 500,000 homes for an entire year. Saving that much energy also reduced GHG emissions by more than two million tons, the equivalent of removing 250,000 cars from the road. During the next two years, SCE forecasts its customers will save an additional two billion kWh, which will reduce emissions by another one million tons.

"Our customers' response to energy-efficiency programs makes it clear home and business owners are ready to do their part to save energy and help protect the environment if offered how-to information and meaningful incentives," said John Bryson, chairman of Edison International.

Bryson said a three-part national strategy could continue the trend of reducing GHG emissions during the next decade. He advocated for expanding cost-effective energy-efficiency programs, a substantial increase in renewable energy generation facilities, and a focus on bringing new technologies to market.

The EPA has recognized SoCal Edison's achievements, most recently by naming it an Energy Star Partner of the Year for 2007. This is the sixth time SCE has received an EPA and DOE award for the effectiveness of its energy-efficiency programs.

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