The Metro, LADWP, and Alternative Fuel

May 11, 2009 by Lisa Newton

Don't forget, Bike to Work Week starts today

For today’s Metro Monday article, I’ll begin at the ending of my trip last week, via the “534 Express” to Malibu, California.

Last time, I started my route in Santa Monica.

However, this time, upon my return, I rode the 534 Express from Malibu, taking Interstate 10 to the end of the line at Washington Blvd. and Fairfax Ave.

That’s called efficiency!

On today’s brief and fun sojourn, I traveled 20 miles within the heart of metropolitan Los Angeles; all within a time span of 40 minutes.

In Los Angeles, that’s impressive. In fact, I don’t think it could have been faster in a car—indeed it probably wasn’t.

Below is an approximate map of my route:

View Untitled in a larger map

As a photojournalist and artist, I had a plan for today’s trip to Malibu (in an upcoming post), but decided that a bit of creative destruction was in order—therefore I wanted to end up somewhere, anywhere, and unplanned to photograph uncharted territory to capture fresh; so I rolled the dice and let the bus lead the way.

Snake eyes was my destiny.

At the end of my day, I ended up at the corner of Venice and Fairfax, with this view right in front of me:

To save power, use low energy appliances

If you’re not from Los Angeles, “LADWP” is the acronym for the infamous Los Angeles Department of Water and Power –the utility company that supplies Los Angeles proper with both our basic power and water.

Love them or hate them—without them, we couldn’t survive more than a day. Not the most original topic for Travelin’ Local but definitively one of life’s basic necessities.

On the other hand, in recent years, looking for alternative fuel sources has been a primary goal for LADWP. Although renewable energy only comprised 3% of LADWP’s power supply in 2005, as of July 1, 2008, it made up 8.5%. Hopefully it’s on track to have 20% of our power from alternative fuel sources by 2010; with the goal of 35% by 2020.

If you’re a resident of Los Angeles, you can express your commitment to the environment by signing up for LADWP’s Green Power for a Green LA Program, which allows you to purchase renewable energy.

Don't forget to turn off the light when you leave the room

For a small premium—currently, $.03 per kilowatt hour—you can support renewable energy, a cleaner environment, and a greener Los Angeles.

With the average LA electric usage at 549 kWh per month, the extra $16.47 to support alternative fuels is well within most household budgets.

Can you afford it? I can.

As a matter of fact, speaking of alternative fuels, the Metro just completed the largest solar installation in Los Angeles. It covers the entire rooftop of Metro’s Support Services Center, which is equivalent to 5 football fields. It’s a 1.2 megawatt solar array, made up of 6,720 individual solar panels.

The solar install is projected to cut the facility’s annual energy bill in half–from $1.1 million to $550,000.

Whether you now incorporate solar, wind, or other alternative power sources, just using the Metro alone, you can reduce your carbon footprint, if only for a day. (Also, don’t forget Bike to Work Week, starts today.)

If you need to go downtown and want to use the 10, consider using the Metro’s 534 Express. It’s undeniably the way to go. Travelin’ Local, having fun, and saving the environment are definitely not mutually exclusive.

What’s your way of getting around town when Travelin’ Local, when you want to get-away-from it all?

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5 Responses to “The Metro, LADWP, and Alternative Fuel”

  1. Kevin says:

    Don’t you love it when public transportation works as well as driving your own vehicle? In the small community I live in we have amazing bus service and while I was in Europe last year I marveled at how well the public transportation systems work over there. It’s great to see Los Angeles is taking this seriously!

    I like the utility company images. I have always found industrial sites to have a strange beauty, not necessarily gorgeous but very graphic and well, interesting. They are a necessity, the lines and transformers required regardless of what you use to generate the power.

    Kevin’s last blog post..The Lowly Dandelion


  2. David says:

    Lisa, a very interesting article. The anticipated growth statistics for the DWP to increase their alternative energy from 2005 to the anticipated increase to 35% by 2020 is an astonishing percentage growth.

    I didn’t know about the Green Power for a Green LA program either. I’m curious as to what kinds of power they’ll substitute in for the clean fuel.

    I’ll also have to wholeheartedly agree with Kevin –a gifted Photographer in his own right–that industrial images are haunting and beautiful.

    All in all a very well researched story with great visuals and photos.



  3. LisaNewton says:

    @ Kevin When I was much younger and lived in Washington DC, I didn’t own a car and used public transportation for all my needs. Then, to find out what buses went to where, I had to call a telephone number, which meant being on hold for a long time.

    It’s much easier now, just look at the necessary website.

    I didn’t realize I would like taking photos of the power grid, but sure enough, I did. I really like the black and white effect.

    @ David Thank you. I think LADWP is using mostly wind and solar energy for their alternative fuels. Personally, I loved what the Metro did with their Service Center, leading by example.


  4. Paisley (Paisley Thoughts) says:

    It’s interesting to see LA from a local’s point of view. To the rest of the world LA is only a glamorous sparkling utopia. It’s so enlightening to see the ‘bare bones’ of necessity. Your pics are always so telling. Thank you.

    Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)’s last blog post..Dreams Are Green And So Is Money


  5. LisaNewton says:

    @ Paisley Thanks. LA is really just like any other place, just a little bit more “starry.”


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