On Tuesday, September 18, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to award a five-year contract to Shell Energy North America to develop and provide renewable energy to residents who decide to opt-in to the city's new incentive program.
Known as CleanPowerSF, the initiative aims to allow towns in the area to choose between the proposed system or traditional grids, which have reportedly been maintained and run by regional energy provider Pacific Gas and Energy for decades. It follows in the footsteps of the city's community choice aggregation program that was created 14 years ago, according to local news source the San Francisco Chronicle. That effort sought to empower communities to choose an alternative power source if it proved to be financially beneficial to that municipality.
The proposed initiative sets aside $19.5 million dollars to explore and develop renewable energy resources that Shell will be able to utilize as it begins delivering clean power to San Franciscans. While the project has yet to be signed by Mayor Ed Lee, he is expected to do so as many residents are reportedly in favor of the new program, despite government officials' concession that it will raise utility costs in the short-term.
However, some on the Board of Supervisors struck a positive note after the vote about how the effort could revitalize the city's energy market.
"I think we've sent a pretty clear message that we in San Francisco are an innovative city and care about our environment and about consumer choice," Supervisor David Campos told the source.
The next step in the program, following approval from Mayor Lee, would be to explore potential sites for wind and solar energy generators. Due to San Francisco's proximity to the sea, it may be safe to say that renewable energy will fit in quite nicely in the City by the Bay.