LAX-Owned Land in Palmdale May Go Green

PALMDALE, Calif. -- After buying 17,750 acres in Palmdale for an intercontinental jetport that has not gotten off the ground, LAX officials say they might use much of the property for a solar power facility capable of generating up to 100 megawatts of clean energy, it was reported Monday.

If approved, the project would help Los Angeles comply with a major portion of Measure B, a local proposition on the March 3 ballot that would require the city to generate 400 megawatts of electricity from solar installations by 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is eyeing about 4,000 largely undeveloped acres of Palmdale airport property, a site that could achieve 25 percent of the goal of Measure B at a single location, assuming city voters pass it, The Times reported.

The balance of the requirement would probably come from smaller locations across the city, including rooftops and parking lots.

DWP general manager H. David Nahai said Palmdale is not crucial to fulfilling the terms of Measure B. Still, if Los Angeles could place a solar farm on the high desert property, "it would be like having the city's own power plant," he told The Times.

"Who would say no to that?" Nahai said.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich may. He has been a vocal critic of Los Angeles' failure to establish permanent air service in Palmdale as part of a larger strategy to spread air traffic more evenly across the region.


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The DWP and Los Angeles World Airports, which owns the property, would have to curry favor with Antonovich, whose district includes Palmdale Regional Airport, according to The Times.

Although Antonovich said he has welcomed solar facilities into his district, he also noted that property owners were required to sell their land decades ago specifically to make way for the airport.

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