By Julie BUTCHER
Glendale resident Madeline Frey, 12, addressed the crowd of approximately 370 children and adults outside Glendale City Hall Tuesday night to oppose the repowering of the Grayson power plant with gas of any amount.
“We have to fix this environmental crisis to fix the only place we call home,” she said before speaking to the audience. “I live super close to Grayson and I’m scared for my own life [when I consider] the links to health issues. And Franklin Elementary is exactly 1.2 miles from Grayson. Kids go there five times a week, right next to a plant that pollutes the air.”
Madeline’s mom beamed as her daughter spoke then explained how Madeline got involved with the Glendale Environmental Coalition after it helped with the greening of her school’s campus. Mom was the co-president of her local “eco club” at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago and wants the City to find options that “invest in the future, not in yesterday.”
East Area Progressive Democratic Club president Hans Johnson expressed his objection to the “piecemeal planning process the City of Glendale has abused to avoid considering the futures of both Scholl Canyon and Grayson at the same time, to profit off of dumping at Scholl Canyon.”
Darrell Park was introduced as an environmental activist.
“We have the most sunshine … we don’t need a gas plant. There’s more than enough sunshine to power Glendale and enough to make money selling it to other communities,” he said. “Or we can do nothing as more and more kids get asthma.”
Longtime Los Angeles activist Lenny Potash attended the demonstration “very inspired by the Sunrise Movement.”
“I’m here to support keeping fossil fuel in the ground,” Potash said. “It’s not necessary and it’s not healthful.”
Glendale Environmental Coalition founder Dan Brotman said, “This is our lives. This is not just about speed bumps or building a condo everybody hates. This is our lives.”
“Fighting is the antidote to despair,” Brotman boomed. Then he announced his candidacy for the city council in March 2020.
“I’ve decided I’m going to run [for the council]. It’s the moment and I feel the responsibility. It’s not just about clean energy. We’ve got transportation issues, how we house people, the urban canopy, how we feed people,” he said. “I want our teachers to be able to live here, to focus on kids not commutes.”
Last week, Glendale Water & Power (GWP) shared with its citizen commission the details of its updated plan regarding the Grayson Power Plant. The original plan presented by GWP two years ago called for upgrading the plant to produce up to 262 megawatts of power at a cost of $500 million. The new plan cuts back on the amount of energy expected to be produced from natural gas by 64.5%. In addition, the proposal proposes 28 megawatts of energy efficiency and demands response pricing; 23 megawatts of distributed (rooftop) solar energy and storage; 75 megawatts of local, utility-scale batteries; and 93 megawatts provided by five flexible internal combustion engines (ICE) to provide flexible and local back-up generation.
According to consultant Dr. Gary Dorris, the proposal meets the power plan principles of keeping the lights on; providing energy that is clean and renewable; includes community participation; plans one step at a time; keeps the bills low.” He also said that the engines could operate using hydrogen in the future.
“The engines,” said GWP general manager Steve Zurn, “that’s what is different. They provide increased flexibility.”
Balancing the goals of environmental stability, low costs and local reliability, Dorris observed that the GWP plan is a “perfect vision of a clean-energy supply portfolio of tomorrow.”
The utility produced a video to educate the public with the facts underlying the public policy debate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biDQOQj8w6A. The full report as it was presented to the commission is available at https://tinyurl.com/yyv7594x.
The proposal is expected to be deliberated at the July 23 council meeting.