Decision on Potrero power plant delayed

Mayor Gavin Newsom asked city legislators to delay a vote on a controversial plan to build a new power plant in Potrero Hill that will replace an older, more polluting plant, saying he needs another week to work on an alternative strategy.

The Board of Supervisors was scheduled to vote today on a proposal to borrow $273 million to build natural-gas-burning power plants in The City’s southeast and at the airport, but Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, the legislation’s sponsor, said Monday that she had agreed to the mayor’s request for a postponement.

<p>The state agency charged with ensuring that Californians have reliable electricity supplies, the California Independent Systems Operator confirmed in a May 1 letter to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission that The City’s plan for the new power plant was “the best mechanism” for retiring the old Potrero power plant. The plan to build the cleaner power plants and take other steps to replace the Mirant plant was approved by the agency in November 2004.

Opposition, to the plan, has grown in recent months, however, with groups including the Sierra Club, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research public policy nonprofit and the Bay Area Ella Baker Center for Human Rights expressing a desire for a more renewable, less polluting option than a fossil-fuel plant.

Newsom, who agreed in November to fast-track development proposals on Mirant’s land and waive millions of dollars in city fees if the company closed the plant, told The Examiner on Monday that while he wants to close Mirant, he is “desperate” to avoid building new fossil-fuel-burning plants.

“I don’t want to live to regret this decision,” Newsom said. “We may look like fools five years from now.”

Newsom said he will try to come up with an “aggressive” alternative plan to install new technology at the Mirant-owned plant to reduce pollution, increase electricity imports from a plan in the works to bring power into The City through a Transbay Cable, create more electricity from renewable sources and reduce in-city electricity demand.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Ed Harrington told supervisors last week that SFPUC staff hadn’t filed proposals with the California ISO to take different steps to replace the Mirant plant because discussions indicated they would have “no chance of success.”

jupton@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Muni’s K-Ingleside trains will resume service after a long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
K-Ingleside train to return on May 15

Announcement comes on the heels of pressure from Supervisor Myrna Melgar

Demonstrators march from Mission High School towards the San Francisco Police station on Valencia Street. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Vigil, march honors those killed by police

Deaths of Daunte Wright, Roger Allen and others prompt renewed calls for defunding

A Recology employee stands at the comapany’s recycling facility on Pier 96 in 2016. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)
Nuru scandal: Feds charge second former Recology executive with bribery

A second former Recology executive is facing charges for allegedly bribing ex-Public… Continue reading

Kiana Williams
Stanford’s Kiana Williams drafted by WNBA champion Seattle Storm

Kiana Williams is going from one championship team to another. A senior… Continue reading

Talika Fletcher, sister of Roger Allen, is consoled at a vigil to honor her brother, who was killed by Daly City Police on April 7, on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Supporters march for SF man killed by Daly City police

Struggle over fake gun ends in shooting of 44-year-old Roger Allen, DA says

Most Read