The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power moved closer to phasing out coal power ahead of schedule March 19. Its board of commissioners approved a contract amendment to retrofit a coal power plant in Utah with natural gas and agreed to negotiate the sale of its interest in a coal plant in Arizona. \t\u201c[T]he era of coal is over,\u201d for LADWP, proclaimed Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. \tThe two coal plants combined supply 39 percent of the muni\u2019s power. \tFormer Vice President Al Gore was scheduled to visit the mayor today for a press conference formally announcing the moves. The adaption is supposed to cut the muni\u2019s greenhouse gas emissions by 59 percent from 1990 levels. \tPending the outcome of the negotiations and actions by other partners in the plants, the moves could allow LADWP to shed reliance on coal in 2025 at the 1,800 MW Intermountain Power Project in Utah. Power from the 2,250 MW Navajo Generating Station in Arizona would be terminated in 2015. \tState law SB 1368 requires California utilities not to renew contracts for coal power in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. LADWP\u2019s contracts expire in 2027 at the Utah plant and 2019 at the Arizona plant. \tLADWP and other municipal power agencies in Southern California get most of the output from the Utah plant, according to Intermountain Power Agency spokesperson John Ward. If they want to ultimately replace it with a gas-fired plant it\u2019s unlikely that the Utah utilities getting power from the plant will stand in the way, he noted. \tAll of the 36 partners in the plant must amend their contracts to replace the coal plant, he explained. That process has been going on for three years and is expected to take additional time. \tLADWP managers told the board that there is a general consensus among utilities to replace the coal plant with a natural gas plant. \tAfter the contract amendments are completed, Ward explained, there will be a \u201csubscription process\u201d to determine which utilities are interested in participating in a replacement gas-fired plant, which would have a capacity between 600 and 1,200 MW. The size would depend upon the number of participants. \tLADWP plans to use some of the transmission capacity from the Intermountain site to bring power from the nearby 200 MW Milford Wind project to its service territory. \tAt the Navajo plant, LADWP said it has agreed in principle with Salt River Project on general terms for selling its 21 percent interest in the facility. LADWP\u2019s board directed the muni\u2019s staff to negotiate the details of a sale to Salt River. \tThe Arizona water and power agency believes that plant will produce economic value for its customers at least through 2019, said Salt River spokesperson Scott Harelson. The plant\u2014which faces upcoming pollution control requirements\u2014could potentially operate longer, he said, particularly with LADWP no longer involved. \tSalt River operates the Navajo plant, which it co-owns with LADWP, Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, Nevada Power, and the federal Bureau of Reclamation. The Bureau uses power from the plant to pump water from Hoover Dam through much of Arizona.