Category Archives: LADWP

Compact Fusion Energy for Urban Power Plants

Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks is designing and building prototypes for a new generation of compact fusion reactors. These reactors would be about the size of a semi-truck yet supply clean continuous power to fill the intermittent and peak power gaps that utilities need to fill grid power demand.

The problem of most renewable energy sources is that they only generate when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. With the availability of continuous power from fusion reactors, utilities will be able to contract and supply clean, emission free power without relying on a supply chain of fossil fuels. Instead of building large, expensive natural gas peaker plants to supply power, compact fusion reactors could provide a cleaner alternative at much lower cost.

Lockheed Martin compact fusion reactor
The Skunk Works’ recent compact fusion reactor design.

Because of its small size relative to the Russian’s tokamak fusion design International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (a huge system being constructed in France), this system is easier to design and rapidly build prototypes  for specialized applications. See the YouTube video.

This technology is not available now but early versions could be marketable in as little as five years. According to the development project manager, Dr. Thomas McGuire:

“We would like to get to a prototype in five generations. If we can meet our plan of doing a design-build-test generation every year, that will put us at about five years, and we’ve already shown we can do that in the lab. So it wouldn’t be at full power, like a working concept reactor, but basically just showing that all the physics works.”

This technology is a strong conceptual response to Amory Lovins (founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute) call for “Reinventing Fire.” Another “arrow in the quiver” for sustainable power.



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LADWP SummerShift Program Increases Incentives July-September 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 7.59.41 PM“With the current moratorium on new injections of natural gas from Aliso Canyon there is a heightened threat of outages this summer, especially during times of extreme heat when gas and electricity are in higher demand. Customer participation in SummerShift will help minimize the risk of rotating outages, which could result in serious health and safety risks, as well as create financial impacts to our customers.”  – Board President Mel Levine.

To avoid power outages this summer, LADWP has announced that the incentives for large commercial customers who decrease their summer demand for energy  has been greatly increased.  The first-of-its-kind program is effective immediately until the end of September 2016.

SummerShift (flyer) is just one of several measures being undertaken by the utility to mitigate the risk of outages caused by the moratorium on gas injections into Aliso Canyon.

SummerShift benefits include:

  1. Receive significant incentives (through a bill credit) of $10 per kW for energy saved or shifted away from the peak period
  2. Avoid cost impacts and inconveniences of electrical service interruptions
  3. Partner with LADWP in preventing power outages this summer affecting all customers

Other measures include:

  • Making operational changes to maximize flexibility of gas-fired power plants to preserve natural gas for critical periods.
  • Maximizing use of alternative fuel sources, including renewable energy.
  • Public outreach to residential customers to reduce their energy use, and participate in Flex Alerts, such as the one issued Monday.
  • Expanding Demand-Response Programs to provide discounts for participating large commercial and industrial customers to reduce and shift their energy use away from peak periods.

To participate in LADWP’s Demand Response Program, businesses must meet these criteria:

  • Have an existing Building Energy Management System
  • Be able to curtail load by 100 kilowatts (kW) for each DR event
  • Be able to adjust operations to participate during the DR season – June 15 to October 15
  • Be able to adjust operations between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. PST
  • Be able to participate with day-ahead or two hour advance notification


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