A last-minute deal struck Monday over CleanPowerSF will avoid a heated contest on the November ballot over what constitutes renewable energy.
Dueling ballot measures — one submitted by IBEW Local 1245, which is the labor union of PG&E workers, and another in response by Board of Supervisors president London Breed — represented the continuation of a long and bitter political fight over CleanPowerSF, which would compete with PG&E for power customers.
But the two sides came to an agreement Monday after hours of talks involving IBEW’s representative Hunter Stern, Breed and Roger Kim, Mayor Ed Lee’s senior advisor on the environment.
Due to the lateness of the agreement, the board will have to hold a special Rules Committee hearing 9 a.m, Friday followed by a full board meeting to vote to place the amended measure on the November ballot. The deadline to do so is 5 p.m. Friday.
“It looks like it’s a way for everyone to put their guns away and not go to war over this,” said clean energy advocate Eric Brooks.
The compromise nixes from Breed’s proposal the requirement that the Department on the Environment notify power customers about PG&E’s nuclear power use, which it promotes as greenhouse gas emissions-free.
The IBEW measure would have prohibited The City from calling energy “green” or “clean” that wasn’t in only one of three categories which qualify as renewable energy under state law.
The measure took aim at the potential use of renewable energy credits. The City could purchase the credits on the market without producing any new renewable energy to essentially green up fossil fuel.
The compromise would make it city policy that the total renewable energy mix adheres to state law, not just the minimum requirement, and that “it is The City’s policy that the use of unbundled renewable energy credits … shall be limited to the extent deemed feasible.” The measure also urges The City inform customers of the energy mix.
Brooks suggested IBEW compromised to avoid the “nuclear” energy provision, which would have been popular with voters. If both measures had won, the one with the most votes would have prevailed.
Stern said the nuclear disclosure wasn’t the biggest concern, but acknowledged it was difficult to explain the measures to voters.
“It would have been difficult for voters to make a decision between one and the other,” Stern said. He added that “we had always committed to work with the mayor and board.”
However, that doesn’t mean that IBEW Local 1245 is in support of CleanPowerSF. “We are going to wait and see what the program is,” Stern said.
Since IBEW’s measure was submitted with signatures, it will still appear on the ballot. “We will endorse this [compromise] measure. We will specifically not put any money into supporting ours. And we will put time and effort into supporting this version,” Stern said.
The program is expected to launch as early as Jan. 26. The City plans to request proposals from energy suppliers in August.CleanPowerSFHunter SternJohn AvalosKaty TangLondon Breednuclear powerPG&EPoliticsrenewable energySan Francisco