The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power proposed to institute its own 20 percent renewables portfolio by 2017. The department?s current portfolio includes 4.3 percent renewable power, with 2.2 percent from small hydro projects. Renewables would be funded through a customer surcharge. ?The department clearly recognizes the value of renewable resources,? said Frank Salas, acting general manager of the department, in introducing the plan to the Los Angeles City Council?s Commerce, Energy, and Natural Resources Committee earlier this week. LADWP?s proposal comes after considerable pressure from members of the city council, environmental groups, and a growing number of elected neighborhood councils in the sprawling city. The Legislature exempted LADWP and other public power agencies from the state?s renewables portfolio standard legislation in 2001, keeping hands off local control. To meet the 20 percent mark, the department would have to replace some of its existing fossil-fuel-based power with renewable resources. LADWP?s plan would cap the cost of power-purchase agreements and facility construction for renewable power at 7 cents\/kWh, rising to 8.5 cents\/kWh by 2017 to account for inflation. The department would fund the difference between renewable power and its current average cost of electricity, which stands at less than 6 cents\/kWh, by imposing a renewable power surcharge beginning in 2007. The surcharge would be capped at 0.61 cent\/kWh. Annual increases would be limited to 0.1 cent\/kWh. ?It?s clear the cost could rise,? said council member Janice Hahn. However, she said, that should not stop the city from adopting the plan. Council member Cindy Miscikowski expressed concern that the 7 cents\/kWh cap may make it difficult to meet the 20 percent renewable power goal. ?The goal is to procure renewable energy resources on a least-cost, best-fit basis,? said Robert Rozanski, assistant financial officer for the department. ?When you compare the department to other utilities, we?re starting in a hole,? he added. Southern California Edison, for example, currently meets the state 20 percent renewables requirement, while L.A. has a little over 4 percent. Under the proposed plan, the department would continue to count its existing small hydro projects as renewable but would expand with wind, biomass, geothermal, solar, and other supplies. The Commerce Committee, the first stop for the plan, continued its consideration of the matter to June 22. The department hopes to issue an initial request for proposals for renewable power later this month and win approval for the plan by the full council early next year. If approval is won, LADWP will begin awarding contracts during the winter.