New Partnership to Advance Tidal Power

(June 19, 2007)

Bay Tides can produce clean electricity and help city meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals

SAN FRANCISCO--The City and County of San Francisco, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Golden Gate Energy Company announced an agreement today to conduct the most comprehensive studies to date documenting the potential for tidal power generation in San Francisco Bay. The partnership will commit funds nearing $1.9 million, with PG&E contributing $1.5 million. The city has contracted with the engineering firm URS for services up to $146,000 for feasibility studies, and has secured an additional $200,000 from the Sidney Frank Foundation for tidal energy research.

The study will be the most comprehensive exploration of the possible development of power generation projects in the San Francisco Bay that could convert the Bay's tides into electricity. Experts in the field consider tidal power generation to be a promising alternative energy source because it is 100% renewable, is predictable, does not take up precious onshore open space, and, in generation, produces zero greenhouse gas emissions.

"We're proud to join with the City and Golden Gate Energy to explore the potential of tidal power in the San Francisco Bay," said Tom King, PG&E CEO. "Our focus on alternative energy sources like solar and wind power generation has helped make PG&E the country's leading clean-energy utility," Mr. King continued, "This partnership reflects PG&E's commitment to developing new sources of renewable energy. If proven feasible, tidal power could enhance our ability to provide clean climate-friendly energy to our customers."

Mayor Newsom, who has made renewable energy a priority for his administration, called the partnership "a historic day for San Francisco Bay." The mayor said, "With our own Climate Action Plan that exceeds the Kyoto Protocols, San Francisco is among the most environmentally progressive cities in the country country, if not the world. The partnership that we're announcing today significantly advances our goal to be a global environmental leader and innovator. I am proud to be working with PG&E and Golden Gate Energy. We all agree that it is imperative that we develop new alternative energy sources like tidal power."

The studies funded under this partnership would quantify tidal energy potential under the Golden Gate, and analyze the topography to determine optimum locations. These are the critical steps in determining the viability of installing a demonstration project. Additionally, the study will compare available tidal electricity generation technology to determine what system would perform best in potential locations, as well as identify potential environmental risks.

In addition to partnering with San Francisco and Golden Gate Power on exploring the potential of tidal power, PG&E is working to harness energy from the waves off of the coasts of Mendocino and Humboldt Counties. Called WaveConnect, these projects are among many of PG&E's efforts to advance its abilities to address climate change by generating renewable energy using new resources and innovative technologies.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company already delivers some of the cleanest energy of any large utility in the nation. The utility currently obtains 12% of its energy from qualifying renewable sources under California's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and small hydroelectric. In addition, more than 50% of the electricity that PG&E delivers to its customers comes from generating resources that emit no or low carbon dioxide, the primary contributor to global warming.