Winds of change fail to blow for SFPUC building

One of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s July 17 directives on wind power ordered city departments to incorporate wind turbines into city facilities “whenever and wherever possible.”

Less than a week later, however, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced it was walking away from plans to build an ultra-green building near City Hall with windmills on the roof and walls due to rising costs and sobering environmental findings.

SFPUC staff discovered the windmills would generate far less power than originally imagined, according to John Doyle, an SFPUC official who oversees energy-generation projects.

“Even though people think it’s windy in San Francisco, it’s not that windy,” Doyle said. “There might be places like Twin Peaks or Visitacion Valley or some other places where you might get some strong winds.”

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