The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) should embrace green power and move toward the state?s 20 percent renewables portfolio standard, according to a long-awaited report from the Los Angeles City Council?s chief adviser. However, the council?s chief legislative analyst, Ronald Deaton, included important economic caveats that may leave the door open to a substantial investment in coal. Even though it is expected to cost $280 million, the December 10 report recommends LADWP use renewable power to help handle system growth and replace some of its current low-cost power purchases on the wholesale market through 2017. Currently, less than 3 percent of the department?s power is produced from renewable energy. The report advocated that renewables investments not exceed 125 percent of the cost of alternative investments in power capacity?at a time when renewables rarely come in at that low a price. Deaton said coal was the most economical source of electricity, between $0.02 and $0.04\/kWh. Combined-cycle natural gas units run $0.035 to $0.06\/kWh; wind is $0.05 to $0.065\/kWh; and landfill gas and geothermal both cost up to $0.09\/kWh. He said photovoltaic power comes in at between $0.40 and $0.60\/kWh. ?To be sitting here talking about how expensive renewables are and be looking at investing in coal at Intermountain Power Project is of concern,? said economist Bill Marcus of JBS Energy in Sacramento. ?They want to slot coal into the part of their portfolio that hedges against natural gas prices.? The department?s draft renewables portfolio standard plan includes an ongoing commitment to coal to meet expected growth in demand for power, according to Reed Searle, general manager of the Intermountain Power Agency, which runs the Intermountain Power Project in Utah. He explained that LADWP plans to maintain the current proportion of coal-fired power in meeting its growing load. Deaton said LADWP?s load is projected to need about 500 MW of new generation capacity by 2012. Meanwhile, the department will lose 158 MW when the coal-fired Mohave plant shuts down in 2005. ?I think LADWP will replace that with [new] coal power,? said Searle, who expects the Utah environmental agency to issue a draft permit for construction of a third coal-fired plant at the Intermountain facility in February. LADWP has helped finance permitting for that addition.