LA Metro’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a policy Thursday that makes it a matter of course for the agency to consider renewable sources of energy for the construction and operation of Metro facilities, including existing and new transit lines. Metro staff will come back to the board in 18 months with recommendations on setting a goal for how much of Metro’s energy should come from renewable sources.
California law already requires that 33 percent of all the power that electrical utilities supply be from renewable sources by 2020, which means that 33 percent of LA Metro’s energy will also be from renewable sources. Currently, 18 percent of the energy that the utilities supply to Metro comes from renewable sources, and another 2 percent comes from solar panels Metro has installed on its facilities.
“Metro uses approximately $26 million in electricity each year. It is only natural, then, for Metro to lead in developing renewable energy sources. Metro can maximize the use of its many tracks, stations and facility locations and make the most of its dollars by exploring solar, wind and even train and bus-braking energy
as new sources of electric power,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. The supervisor had introduced the motion together with Metro board member and Santa Monica City Councilwoman Pam O’Connor.
Move LA applauds the board’s decision. "We support this policy because it is a good way to reduce the long-term operating costs associated with energy consumption,” said Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane. “We congratulate Metro on leading the way again."
"This is an opportunity to save green, be green and get green,” added Diane Forte of Forte Green Strategies, which has worked with Move LA and LA Metro on building support for the policy. She noted that the policy also provides opportunities for the agency to partner and pursue joint development opportunities for renewable energy-related projects both with local utilities that supply power as well as private investors and businesses.
LA Metro will need to buy more energy to construct and operate the expanded transit system funded by the Measure R sales tax. Because energy costs are expected to rise, the agency is eager to ensure it has alternative energy options.
The energy policy is supported by environmental and transportation advocates including the Coalition for Clean Air, the Sierra Club, Breathe LA, FAST (Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic), Environment California, Greenpeace, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies.