A recent report that looked at the feasibility of coal-fired power sources and the pending state law said "In forsaking their largest power source, the cities will be gambling on the availability of adequate alternative energy from cleaner sources by 2027, after their current contracts with the Utah facility expire." The Utah facility references a power company in that state where Los Angeles, Burbank and the other Southern California cities now go to purchase coal-fired electricity.
The changes are aimed at phasing out coal-fired power sources in the Southern California area. A recent report listed solar and wind power as viable future energy sources, and the report added that it could also put the region ahead in the capture and burial of carbon dioxide.
At this time, six of the Southern California's largest cities depend on coal-fired electricity for half to two-thirds of their electricity. While new alternative energy sources exist, researching and building a new infrastructure to replace it will be a costly and risky business.
"It's a very challenging undertaking. All of these technologies are still in their infancy," said Phyllis Currie, general manager of Pasadena Water & Power. Pasadena is one of the cities joining in the decision.