Potrero power-plant proposal sparks opposition legislation

A new contract to build power plants in The City to replace a more-polluting plant in Potrero Hill is expected to be introduced to the Board of Supervisors next week — but one city legislator has drafted legislation that could nix or further delay the project, which has been debated for more than seven years.

In October, a contract with another company set to build the power plant was approved 8-3 by the Board of Supervisors, after being told that Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office had reached a deal with Mirant Corp., the owner of the older plant, to close it down after the new power source was up and running.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission recently announced it reached a new $250 million deal with Ohio-based Industrial Construction Co. Inc. to build a 150-megawatt natural gas-burning plant north of the Islais Creek Channel in The City’s southeast and a 48-megawatt natural gas-burning plant at the airport.

The California Department of Water Resources would funnel $32.5 million a year from utility companies’ rates toward the project until 2015, according to department official Richard Grix. If the plants start operating by 2010, that could provide 80 percent of the project’s construction costs.

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell said she’s “very glad” that the supervisors will finally be able to vote on a deal that could shut down the air-polluting Potrero Hill plant, which is in her district. “We’ll be generating our own power and we’ll be able to market it,” she said.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, however, said she will introduce legislation that, if passed, would force The City to re-evaluate the need and fiscal impacts of the project.

The City should develop alternative energy sources, Alioto-Pier said, adding that a planned power project called the Transbay Cable, would offset the need for new plants.

The Transbay Cable will deliver enough electricity from Pittsburg to San Francisco to more than offset the lost capacity from the Mirant plant in the coming years, according to figures provided by project manager Sam Wehn.

SFPUC general manager for power Barbara Hale said the California Independent System Operator requires The City to build new in-city power plants before the Mirant plant can be shut down.

California ISO spokeswoman Stephanie McCorkle told The Examiner that The City has not formally proposed any plans other than the new gas-burning plant to shut down the Mirant plant.

“We’re always willing to look at something,” she said.

jupton@examiner.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

Anti-eviction demonstrators rally outside San Francisco Superior Court. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Report: Unpaid rent due to COVID-19 could be up to $32.7M per month

A new city report that attempts to quantify how much rent has… Continue reading

Music venues around The City have largely been unable to reopen due to ongoing pandemic health orders. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to cut $2.5M in fees to help 300 nightlife venues

San Francisco will cut $2.5 million in fees for hundreds of entertainment… Continue reading

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett departs the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after Ginsburg’s death. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
GOP senators confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court in partisan vote

By Jennifer Haberkorn Los Angeles Times The Senate on Monday confirmed Judge… Continue reading

Curator Tim Burgard looks over a section of the galleries comprising “The de Young Open,” a huge, varied collection of work by Bay Area artists. (Photo courtesy Gary Sexton/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Bay Area artists jam-pack vivid ‘de Young Open’

Huge exhibition — with works for sale — showcases diversity, supports community

SF Board of Education vice president Gabriela Lopez and commissioner Alison Collins listen at a news conference condemning recent racist and social media attacks targeted at them and the two student representatives on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Online attacks on school board members denounced by city officials

City officials on Monday condemned the targeting of school board members, both… Continue reading

Most Read