New Setback For SF Alternative Energy Plan; Mayor: ‘Green Power Not Dead’

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A group of people tour the solar panels on the top of the Moscone Center on June 4, 2005 in San Francisco, California. The panels can produce up to 675 kilowatts of power and can provide 20-30% of the power for any convention at the center and is said to be one of the largest city owned solar power systems in the United States. San Francisco is the host to the World Environment Day 2005 conference where over 60 mayors from the world's largest and most environmentally significant cities, including London, Zurich, Buenos Aires, Jakarta, Delhi, Kabul, and Manila convened in San Francisco for the United Nation's World Environment Day conference June 1-5 to adopt historic accords on sustainable urban living. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

A group of people tour the solar panels on the top of the Moscone Center in San Francisco. (David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

HollyQuan20100908_KCBS_0017r Holly Quan
Born and raised in Oakland, Holly graduated from San Francisco State....
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Proponents of a green power alternative to PG&E in San Francisco are frustrated, but not deterred by delays to the city’s long-awaited renewable energy program. However, this week’s setback when the SF Public Utilities Commission refused to move forward on a key approval has sent the program back to the drawing board.

For nine years, the city has been putting together CleanPowerSF, which would cost customers more than PG&E, but would provide renewable or green energy.

Supervisor John Avalos, a big supporter, said it’s been an uphill battle to come up with a program palatable for regulators, who on Tuesday, refused to sign off on a rate schedule.

“Since March there have been many efforts to not have a vote on approving rates. Every month it seems like, ‘Oh, we will do it next month. We just have to answer a few questions,’ and then the questions are answered and then new questions arise and then the commissioners say, ‘Oh, we have other questions that we have to get answered,’” Avalos said.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said green power isn’t dead, but that it’s just not feasible in its current form. He said the PUC was right to question the new program to ensure that it’s what’s best for San Francisco.

“They were asking, ‘how green is this? It looks like brown power. Where are the jobs that were promised?’ People are looking for jobs, sustainable jobs in the green sector. They didn’t see it here,” Lee said.

Avalos blamed politics for holding up green power and suggested going to the voters to circumvent the city’s regulators.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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