San Francisco's Clean Power Program Collapses, Starts Over

Electricity never strikes out twice in one place... we hope.
After spending months attempting and failing to negotiate the terms of a new program to provide clean, relatively cheap power to the local citizenry, San Francisco's Public Utilities Commission earlier this month began the process anew with a fresh request for proposals.

Nearly a year ago, SF Weekly's Peter Jamison reported that the city's plan to overhaul San Francisco's power grid to boost energy independence and environmental friendliness was poised to collapse under its own idealistic and optimistic intentions.

Collapse it did, after the PUC rejected a proposal by a consortium including GE Energy, Oracle Corp, and real estate conglomerate Grubb & Ellis -- which urged the city to back a $400 million loan to finance the program.

reddy kilowatt.jpg
Here he's known as Not Yet Reddy Kilowatt.
Last month, the city went back to the drawing board with a new request for proposals that, among other things, requires new bidders to bring their own money.

To wit, according to a PUC official quoted in the newsletter Platt's Megawatt Daily, this time around, bidders "will not be able to qualify for the RFP unless they provide sufficient credit assurances."

Bids are due Oct. 6.

According to the city's RFP summary:

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), a department of the City and County of San Francisco, in consultation with the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), seeks a qualified Supplier of electricity supply services and customer care and billing services for CleanPowerSF - the City's Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Program. CleanPowerSF will offer electricity generation services to up to approximately 375,000 retail electricity accounts with potential annual revenue of approximately $420 million per year.
According to the Megawatt Daily report, bidders must show they can produce 51 percent renewable energy within the first decade of the program.

The program does not seem to have abandoned the seemingly steep challenge of beating PG&E rates. According to a PUC statement cited by Megawatt Daily, by fostering "local control of wind, solar and other renewable energy resources, the city will create green jobs and deliver cleaner energy that will pay for itself over time with increasingly stable rates."

We've left a telephone message with the PUC's clean energy point man Mike Campbell. We'll keep you posted when he gets back to us.

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