Mayor Newsom, City Attorney Herrera, Supervisor Maxwell, SFPUC & State Officials Announce Historic "Action Plan" to Close Polluting Hunters Point & Potrero Power Plants

(November 8, 2004)

Mayor Newsom annouces action
plan to shut down power plants
in San Francisco by 2007

City Officials Urge California Independent System Operator Board to Adopt Historic Agreement to Close Dirty Power Plants by 2007 & Guarantee S.F. Electric Reliability

SAN FRANCISCO – Mayor Gavin Newsom, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and City and State energy officials gathered at the foot of the Potrero Power Plant today to announce an historic Action Plan to close the City's existing polluting and unreliable power plants by 2007. The Action Plan developed by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) working with the City & County of San Francisco marks the first time that the State has outlined a series of specific, achievable steps that San Francisco can take in conjunction with new electricity generation and transmission improvements to close the Hunter's Point and Potrero Power Plants.The announcement by City and State officials came as the CAISO Board of Governors prepares to vote on adoption of the plan at their November 10th meeting.

"For the first time, we have a commitment and a schedule to shut down San Francisco's existing dirty power plants," said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "Decommissioning the Hunters Point and Potrero Power Plants will be a major milestone in accomplishing our goal of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, improving air quality and moving San Francisco towards a self-sustaining, renewable energy future."

The plan is the product of long negotiations between CAISO, the State of California and San Francisco officials – including the Mayor's Office, City Attorney's Office, Supervisor Maxwell and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) – with extensive involvement by San Francisco community leaders. The CAISO Action Plan provides that the City's proposal to install four smaller and more environmentally friendly gas-fired Combustion Turbine units, when taken together with local and regional transmission projects – most already approved or underway – will clear the way for the decommissioning of both the Hunters Point and Potrero power plants by removing the state funded Reliability Must Run (RMR) contracts that keep the plants operating. Under the Action Plan, the closing of the two plants would be phased, with the Hunters Point Power Plant slated to close in early 2006 and the Potrero Power Plant to close approximately a year later.

"The plan we're announcing today marks an important step forward for environmental justice and energy independence for San Francisco," said City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office led legal efforts to achieve the historic plan. "For the first time, San Francisco has a clear roadmap to achieving cleaner, more reliable energy generation, and I will commit the full resources of my office to negotiating the necessary closure of the Mirant plant."

"The Southeast community and the local environment have been burdened for too long by pollution from these two plants," said Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, whose district includes both the Hunters Point and Potrero Power plants. "There is much work yet to do to permanently close these plants and to realize our vision of a city powered by clean, renewable energy. We must continue to hold the State and the City accountable for results, but this is a critical step forward."

Maintaining San Francisco's electricity reliability once the Hunters Point and Potrero Power Plants are offline was a significant objective of the joint Action Plan. CAISO officials have confirmed that once in place, the Jefferson-Martin transmission line – approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in August – in addition to projects such as the Potrero-Hunters Point transmission line and similar transmission upgrades, will maintain sufficient electricity reliability for San Francisco with the removal of the plants.

"San Francisco is showing tremendous leadership by proactively working to address its long-term energy reliability needs," said Joe Desmond, Deputy Energy Secretary for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who joined City officials, members of the CAISO staff and Michael Florio, member of the CAISO Board of Governors. "The focus on installing newer and more reliable generation, while at the same time supporting renewable and energy efficiency measures, will ensure that we can eliminate the need for these older plants."

The CAISO has committed to work with the City and other stakeholders to achieve the long-term energy goals of the City. "We consider this Action Plan as just one step toward a more reliable and sustainable energy resource future for San Francisco," said Marcie Edwards, Interim CEO of the CAISO.

The Action Plan follows the lead of the San Francisco Electricity Resource Plan (SFERP), developed through an extensive community process by the SFPUC and Department of the Environment (SFE), and passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2002. The SFERP created an initial roadmap for the closure of the City's existing power plants, electricity transmission upgrades, and created a focus on renewable energy and conservation.

"Another key piece of the puzzle is now in place and we can glimpse the light at the end of this long tunnel," said SFPUC General Manager Susan Leal, whose agency will lead implementation of the agreement. "We look forward to continuing the hard work ahead with San Francisco's elected leaders, the community and our State colleagues to achieve a future of cleaner energy and clearer skies."

For further information contact:
Mayor's Office of Communications (415) 554-6131