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100% Local Clean Energy & Climate Justice For SF
In a groundbreaking victory, on January 12, 2016, after a twelve year battle against resistance from the Mayor's office, clean energy advocates succeed in getting the the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to launch the CleanPowerSF program. San Franciscans now have one of the most renewable electricity supplies in the U.S.
Since 2004, Our City has been an unwavering leader of the community coalition that brought CleanPowerSF to its successful launch.
But There Is A Problem
San Francisco's clean energy program was originally supposed to create thousands of jobs as the city built hundreds of megawatts of solar, wind and energy efficiency projects in order to run the entire city on 100% local, clean, renewable electricity by 2030. That never happened.
Instead of giving San Franciscans jobs building self-sufficient, local clean electricity generation as planned, the SFPUC has spent the last seven years almost exclusively buying renewable energy from distant sources as far way as Los Angeles County deserts, and sometimes even from out of state. Some of this distant electricity is generated in sensitive wildlife habitat, harming nature when the whole point of renewables is to restore nature.
The Hazards Of Long Distance Power Lines
High cost, long range power transmission lines (built and owned by corporate monopolies) have triggered heavily destructive, and often deadly, wildfires and power shutoffs. These lines also cut long gouges in wildlife habitat.
But the monopoly electricity companies keep building them because it is through charging customers a profit to build new power lines that they make the most money. This wastes billions of dollars that could instead be spent building local clean energy projects more quickly.
Transmitting electricity over long distances also results in a wasteful 'line loss' of between 5 and 15 percent of the electricity being transmitted. For all of these reasons, it is essential that San Francisco build its own local clean energy network.
The Struggle To Draft A 100% Local Clean Energy Plan
To build a local clean electricity network, San Francisco first needs to draft a plan for how it will be done. Since the very beginning (in 2004) of the campaign to launch CleanPowerSF, environmental groups have been asking the bureaucratic SFPUC to draw up this 100% local clean energy plan, and for the last two decades the SFPUC has stubbornly refused to do so. This is largely due to pressure from the Mayor's office, which has had a close relationship with the monopoly utility corporation PG&E, a company that attacks rooftop solar and other local clean energy as unwanted competition.
Clean Energy & Environmental Justice Coalition Takes Action
So in 2022 Our City coordinated a grassroots coalition to send a letter to members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who are not influenced by PG&E, to ask for a local clean energy plan to be drafted. The letter also calls for a plan that will strongly support local low income neighborhoods impacted most by both the climate crisis, and by economic and environmental injustice.
With this strong support, Supervisor Gordon Mar then took up the task of working around the SFPUC's refusals. He went directly to the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFE) and commissioned its clean energy staff to estimate the cost of hiring experts to draw up the plan.
In December 2022 SFE completed the cost estimate and it showed that San Francisco can draft a local clean energy plan for less than $1 million. This is important because contracts that cost less than a million dollars are much easier to pass through the Board of Supervisors. Now we just need the Board of Supervisors to pass that funding, so the planning can get underway!
Ask the SF Board of Supervisors to fund and draft the local clean energy plan!
What You Can Do
Email the San Francisco Board Of Supervisors Today!
Click on and then send to:
The Board of Supervisors
the following sample, or your own composition...
Sample Letter To Support Building Local Clean Energy
While the launch of CleanPowerSF was an important step forward, the decade of delay by the SFPUC in constructing a comprehensive local clean energy network, is simply not acceptable in light of the pressing immediate need for jobs, local energy resilience, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Please move as quickly as possible to plan and build a citywide and Bay Area clean energy and efficiency network, that will run the entire city on 100% locally installed, clean, renewable electricity by 2030.
[Insert your name and street address here.]