Newsom pledges city will harvest power from sea

Mayor Gavin Newsom pledged Monday that San Francisco will begin generating electricity from the power of the sea — at least on a demonstration basis — before he leaves office.

The City is overseeing research in an effort to harness wind and tidal power.

Newsom joined other city officials Monday at Fort Mason, where the group marveled at a device that will measure the potential energy generated by waves at Ocean Beach.

In March, Newsom pledged to forge ahead with a separate plan to run a demonstration tidal-power project beneath the Golden Gate Bridge after researchers concluded the plan was not financially feasible.

Tidal energy is created when the moon’s gravity sucks water from one side of the Earth to the other.

“I don’t want to leave office — and I have to at a certain point — without having a pilot demonstration project actually in the water, generating electricity,” said Newsom, who is expected to run for governor in 2010 on an environmental platform. “I’m not leaving this particular office, even if it means running for Contra Costa supervisor, until this is done.”

Newsom said the sea-power trial projects will make sure San Francisco is “in line first” for the technology as it develops.

San Francisco might not own any renewable power-generation projects created by the research, which is being funded with taxpayer dollars and grants, according to Newsom.

The City will test wave-power potential off Ocean Beach this month, when waves are typically weak, and again during winter when waves are strong, Environment Department official Johanna Partin said.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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