EDITORIAL The clean energy plan for San Francisco isn't perfect. It's going to cost residents a bit extra to join a sustainable, city-run electricity system. Officials at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission figure that only about 100,000 residential customers will pay the premium to buy renewable energy — fewer if Pacific Gas and Electric Company launches a huge marketing effort to drive potential customers away. And PG&E will still control the distribution lines, the billing, the meters — and will make most of the profit.Read more »
Retirement is knocking at Ed Harrington's door. But the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission general manager is hesitating, not quite able to muster the will needed to walk out the door. He has something that he wants to finish first.
The sage city veteran has labored for years to launch an historic program so transformative that it would finally allow city residents and businesses to reject a homicidal utility monopoly and the dirty electricity that it sells. Success could be mere weeks away; failure would be a bitter blow.Read more »
The campaign for a ballot measure that seeks to create a plan for tearing down the O'Shaughnessy Dam – San Francisco's main source of clean water and power – and turning the Hetch Hetchy Valley into a tourist destination must be having a hard time collecting the 9,702 signatures it needs by July 9 because it is resorting to conjuring up unlikely boogiemen to win public sympathy.Read more »
EDITORIAL The way the San Francisco Chronicle describes it, the city's new green power program "won't come cheap." That's a line that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will use over and over again in the next few months as the city finally prepares to get into the retail electricity business, 98 years after Congress mandated public power for San Francisco. Clean Power SF will offer 100 percent clean energy — and yes, right now, this spring, it will cost a little bit more than buying nuclear and coal power from PG&E.
But that price differential will change dramatically in the next few years — if the city goes forward not just with buying and aggregating power from the commercial market but developing renewable energy on its own.
That's the key to the future of Clean Power SF — and as a proposed contract to get the system up and running comes to the Board of Supervisors, the need for a city build-out of at least 210 megawatts of energy generation capacity is, and must be, an essential part of the plan. Read more »