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Nuclear Banned From Clean Power Program
On July 14, 2020 after an upsurge of widespread public outcry against a proposed nuclear power deal with PG&E, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) unanimously passed a resolution which banned all purchase or exchange of nuclear energy by the City’s flagship CleanPowerSF program.
Since CleanPowerSF launched in 2016, SFPUC staff have excluded nuclear power from the program. But in June 2020 they suddenly agendized a resolution for the Commission to enact a major change in that policy. The resolution would have allowed CleanPowerSF to take nuclear energy from PG&E’s aging Diablo Canyon plant and sell it to communities outside of San Francisco in a deal that would have netted a little over one million dollars for CleanPowerSF.
The deal would have exploited a loophole in the previous policy which prohibited CleanPowerSF from selling nuclear power to its own customers, but did not explicitly prohibit selling nuclear power to other cities.
Fighting The PG&E Nuclear Deal Statewide
PG&E’s nuclear deal was also presented to each of the other community-based clean energy programs (known as Community Choice programs) in its service territory.
After PG&E’s initial proposal in 2019, Our City, along with other environmental, consumer, and environmental justice groups, rose up to challenge claims that nuclear is a so-called “clean” energy source, and to demand that the PG&E deal be rejected. Most programs have proactively refused PG&E’s deal, with programs in only three counties, Alameda, Santa Clara and Placer, accepting.
PG&E's Sneak Maneuver In San Francisco
The proposed deal came to a head in San Francisco when SFPUC staff placed a resolution on its Commission’s June 23, 2020 agenda. The Resolution (made to appear as if it was only a discussion item) was later revealed as an action item to allow the trade of nuclear power between CleanPowerSF and PG&E.
On discovering the hidden action item, Our City helped to coordinate the opposition. A broad array of community stakeholders successfully demanded that the proposal be removed from the agenda, and it was delayed to the SFPUC Commission meeting on July 14, 2020. Commissioner Sophie Maxwell and SFPUC staff then reached out to stakeholders to engage a dialog about the proposal.
Opposition Wins A Full Ban Of Nuclear From CleanPowerSF
On hearing overwhelming rejection of the nuclear deal from community stakeholders, SFPUC staff and the Commission dramatically amended the resolution to transform it into a complete ban on all use or exchange of nuclear energy by the CleanPowerSF program. Commissioner Maxwell and Commissioner Francesca Vietor ensured that the resolution became a full ban.