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Breed touts clean energy initiatives in advance of climate summit

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Solar panels are being installed on the roof of Moscone Center. (Michael Toren/S.F. Examiner)

Mayor London Breed on Wednesday announced new clean energy initiatives and trumpeted The City’s past environmental accomplishments in advance of a climate conference next week.

Spearheaded by Gov. Jerry Brown, the Global Climate Action Summit will take place at the Moscone Convention Center, temporarily making San Francisco the “global climate capital of the world,” said Debbie Raphael, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment.

Breed said The City continues to take a lead role in the fight against climate change as the Trump administration rolls back protections at the federal level.

“Climate change is real,” she said, even if “we have a president who doesn’t believe that’s the case.”

The City has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from 1990 levels, she said, all while the economy grew by 111 percent and the population increased by 20 percent.

Announced were new initiatives to cut landfill disposal in half and move all electricity generation to renewables by 2030, ensure all buildings have net-zero emissions by 2050 and issue more green bonds to finance new infrastructure projects.

Also on display Wednesday at a hastily arranged tour were new solar panels to be mounted on the roof of the Moscone Center Expansion project. The building will have 792 panels when completed in December, providing 20 percent of the building’s electricity. The remainder will be generated by the Hetch Hetchy Power System, an emission-free energy source.

Currently the largest solar array in The City is an older installation at Moscone South, facing Third Street. Brook Mebrahtu, a project manager from San Francisco Public Works, said that because of technological advancements and higher efficiency panels becoming available, the new installation will generate roughly 20 percent more power despite using less than half as many panels.

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