On April 22, Earth Day, San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos will introduce an ordinance to initiate a study of joining Marin Clean Energy to offer San Franciscans a greener alternative to PG&E’s electricity service.
For 10 years San Francisco has worked to establish its own Community Choice energy program called CleanPowerSF. Last year the Board of Supervisors gave final approval to CleanPowerSF, but the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission blocked its implementation.
“Mayor Lee and the Public Utilities Commission objected to CleanPowerSF, but they have offered no other solution to provide San Franciscans with 100% renewable electricity,” Avalos said. “With this ordinance, we can either join Marin, or we can implement our own program, but we can no longer afford to do nothing.”
Marin Clean Energy began serving customers in 2010, and in 2013 it expanded to include the city of Richmond. MCE currently serves approximately 125,000 customers, offering two types of service: a “deep green” service that offers 100% renewable energy and a “light green” service that is 50% renewable energy.
In 2008 San Francisco enacted ambitious greenhouse-gas emission limits. The Department of the Environment’s Climate Action Strategy states that “moving to 100% renewable electricity is the single biggest step the City can take to reduce GHG emissions.”
The Department of the Environment reports that CleanPowerSF’s initial planned rollout of a 30 MW program would have resulted in the elimination of 52,881 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. This means that every day of further delay in implementing CleanPowerSF contributes 149 metric tons of CO2.
And in the 252 days since the SFPUC declined to implement CleanPowerSF, San Francisco has needlessly generated 36,500 metric tons of CO2—that translates to 80 million pounds of CO2!
The Avalos ordinance will begin the process of evaluating San Francisco’s ability to join Marin Clean Energy. The ordinance also urges the SFPUC to compare MCE and CleanPowerSF, and to implement whichever best meets San Francisco’s goals of balancing price, renewable-energy content, and ability to fund construction of local clean-energy projects.