tv [untitled] December 23, 2010 8:30pm-9:00pm PST
>> good morning, folks. good morning. in the general manager of san francisco utilities commission, and we are here for a moment this occasion. we are at the potrero, the last dirty power plant in san francisco, so the big question we have been asking is not whether this goes away, but when does this go away. today, you will hear the official announcement. the first one to try to answer that question -- there will be two people doing it -- is our mayor, who was so instrumental in making this happen, mayor gavin newsom. mayor newsom: thank you for coming out. i know it is called, and i know you are worried because i get so excited about some of these issues. this is something that is near and dear to all of us. we would not be here had it not been a point of intense purpose and passion that unites all of
us in terms of our desire to shut this power plant down. there are a lot of champions of this effort. most importantly, the community. the people of the southeast sector that demanded that we reconcile the fact that we had two of the most polluting power plants in california that were operating not too many years ago. we were successful finally in shuttering the hunters point plant in 2006, and we then turned our intent -- attention intensely on shutting down the potrero power plant. to say so is quite easy. we can hold hands, passed resolutions, have candlelight vigils and talk about the issues of environmental justice and prostate cancer rates and cervical cancer rates and asthma rates and recognizing the problem and elevating it in the consciousness of and the minds of people in the city, state,
and nation. to take a pragmatic steps required partners and leaders. community has that foundation and support, and having elected officials and appointed officials in key positions that were stewards of this process. we have had many of them -- former mayors. former supervisors. i would argue the current mayor and current supervisors. we have partners in the state and partners in our federal government that all came together with that stated goal and intent of getting to where we are in today, and that is this formal announcement that this potrero plant will be shut down as early as the end of the year or as late as the first quarter of next year. i'm giving a little bit of room for the real determinant of when this will be shut down, to give us a more precise date, but i just want to compliment everybody for their steadfastness and faith and devotion to this process, but we
did not always necessarily agree. we had different tracks we went down. some have argued for some combustion turbines as an alternative, and we were getting close to that. we successfully pulled back. commissioner escolar a was a real champion, yelling and screaming behind closed doors -- never in public. he was always good about that -- saying, "you cannot walk down that path. you must listen to those that argue differently." to jeroboam felt, who argued the same period -- to jared blue bell, who argued the same. to others who felt we could do more and better. to yakut, always keeping us back on track and saying, open court are not care how you do it. my professional responsibility
is reliability, and here's how i think you can get their." i cannot impress upon you how fortunate we were to have him. every time we pick up the phone, he answered. every time we wanted a straight answer, he gave it. he had a lot of political pressure and a lot of folks that wanted him to say something different, but he had a fiduciary responsibility to say what he thought was right, but he always was there to provide direction and counsel, and i wanted to publicly state that because he was a fundamental linchpin and an incredibly important person in helping us move this process along. to the puc staff, so all the commissioners, i thank you for your guidance and counsel and your hard work. you were critical and central to this effort. to the city attorney's office, you were central in this
effort, and were critical in getting us this far as we have come. his supervisor maxwell, her passion was shared with her action -- to supervisor maxwell, her passion was shared with her action. i wish we did record those conversations in the mayor's office. they were not necessarily yelling, but they were passionate conversations, and we had a back and forth in terms of how we got here, but we certainly share the same goal of getting to where we are today. that was for sure. i know how proud you are of this moment, and you deserve to be prideful of this, and you deserve a tremendous amount of credit for getting us here and keeping us all on the same path. i want to also thank the state for their guidance and leadership and stewardship as well. again, 1000 fathers or mothers
-- success, right? but i'm really honored that all of you work as hard as you did. i will close just personally. this was one of my firm pledges when i ran for mayor, that i would be the mayor that shot down hunters point and potrero. hunters point, i knew we could get it down, and potrero, and i knew we were intentional, but nothing makes me more proud than being able to -- and i did not even have to stretch my time as a member of the city family. this is official. to be here is a point, really, of tremendous personal pride as well. thank you, everybody. we are going to shut this down, revitalize it, redevelop it, rematch in the area. research and development, green tech, and as was said in a paper, this is the last vestige of our industrial past, our polluting past. this is important.
i know the folks in merant. they tried to make it cleaner and more efficient, and i thank you for that, but this was originally san francisco gas and whatever. they were burning coal. they were taking coal and basically converting it through a process that kept our street lights on in the 19th century and allowed us to have cooking oil at home. it was a big part of san francisco's indiana foundation, but it gets to a point where we turn our back to the old ways of doing things and we'd probably lift our heads to a new way of doing things. really, this day marks the occasion as much or more than anything else. thank you all very much. [applause] . >> thank you. as the mayor said, a lot of people were providing information, sending messages to
sacramento, but none of this would have been worthwhile if there was not someone listening to us as we sent those messages. with us today, the ceo and president of the california independent -- iso. >> thank you very much. of course, this is a historic day. the plant is historic, and shutting the plant is historic. on its own face, this plan has been far art of date. more recently, it has actually provided a security cushion for san francisco, should anything happen outside of san francisco. but the the brassiere to replace the plan with other alternatives that would make the city more secure, more reliable, with much less polluting options, which is all the special projects that
have been put in place for the last two or three years. first, transbay cable, an incredibly sophisticated technology that provides part of that supply, and the re-cabling of pg&e, and i want to thank everyone who worked very hard to make that technology work over the past year and have the cable in operation. and also pg&e, who really were also very hard -- worked very hard to replace all the cables, and now, san francisco has a reliable secure supply. really, there are people that i want to thank. first of all, the mayor talked about listening. i just have not met a politician over my six years in california who listens with a full year's like gavin newsom -- listens with full years -- listens with full ears like gavin newsom.
who helps us get through to something that will satisfy the community. i cannot thank you end up. out of all of this, we became very good friends as well. supervisor maxwell, we are finally here, and we are celebrating. city attorney, we have phone calls that were sometimes not pleasant, but we are here again. but the people i want to thank is the community. you hosted this plant for so long a time. you also were very patient over the last 12 months, and i apologize because you see our goal, which is to make sure the supply to san francisco is secure, so we are finally here, and i thank you for your patience. we have served a notice of termination of reliability of this plant effective january 1. [applause] and i know that you are going to
be working very hard to actually take it outside and dismantling -- dismantle it in the best way. i also thank you, john, for your cooperation, and i know you will help us secure supply from throughout san francisco with new plans. again, thank you very much for all of you being here, and thank you for your patience, and congratulations. [applause] >> thank you very much. the owner of the place we are standing right now, with us today is one of the straight shooters who was with us throughout the process. >> good morning. welcome to potrero power plant. i'm president of the california operations of a company called genon, which is a new name to
most of you. it is the result of a merger between the company you do recognize and reliant, which took place just a few weeks ago. it was a little over three years ago that a number of us attended an event just on the other side of our offense, celebrating the signing of a term sheet agreement that in many ways anticipated today, and i would say it has been a bit of a roller coaster to get from there to here, but we are here today and happy to celebrate this event. it is a day of mixed emotions for me and my colleagues. on one hand, we are happy to celebrate this milestone, which will eliminate the last big power plant in the city of san francisco. i'm very happy for mayor newsom and the city attorney and supervisor maxwell. i know that these folks and many
others have worked for a very long time to make this day happen, so it is an important day. we have tried to do our best to work with each of you over the past few years to make this day happen. at the same time, it is a sad day for some of us here. the closure of this facility will eliminate about 30 positions here on site. that is a sad day for many of us. what i would like to note is that in the background of all of the events that have led up to this one, the employees at this plant have done a tremendous job of operating the plant and have achieved results that but this plant at the top tier of their industry, including some very important awards in both safety and reliable operations this year. they did that while the whole time this uncertainty was looming, and they knew that this
announcement was just around the corner. so i would just like to thank the plant manager. [applause] and your team for really maintaining excellence in light of the uncertainty and inevitable closure of this plant. i think it is commendable what you guys have done. i know a number of people are going to want to know what we do next with this site once the closure is complete, and i would answer that by saying right now, we are going to focus on making sure the closure is complete. that is our top priority, and that is what we're going to be focused on for the next several weeks. we think there is a lot of value for us and the community, and we look forward to working with the community that explores the operations for the site and develop a plan that makes sense to all. i'm looking forward to that chapter as we close this one, and i thank you all for being here today and ask you to be safe on your way out today.
thanks a lot. [applause] >> thank you, john. we have mentioned community several times, and there are a lot of folks here. at the risk of midget -- missing a few, just to mention the potrero hill folks, and the powerpoint task force, the people that have worked on that for years need to be thanked for this. [applause] obviously, people from bayview who worked on their power plant and this one so much. espanola jackson would be here, but she is recovering. we have community activists who have worked and really added their voice to this and were there when we needed them to be, but no campaign actually works without a standard bearer, someone willing to walk in front, get abused, keep going with the singular force of saying, "i'm going to make this happen no matter what anybody
says to me he can that takes a singular kind of courage that you do not always see eye and elected officials, and that person is so the maxwell -- sophie maxwell. >> when they say it takes a village to raise a child, it has taken a state and city to close this power plant. i started working on these plans when i took office, and now, the plants are leaving with me -- at least this one is -- and that is great. i also want to thank all of those folks. i remember the first time when we met officially as him being mayor and him being supervisor -- him being mayor and me being supervisor. i want to thank him. theresa miller, who is there with us all the time, all the
questions, all the letters. i want to thank you for all those letters as we are talking on the phone. this is great for san francisco. it is certainly great for potrero. san francisco is really putting us where we want to be on the road toward a clean energy future. for that, i want to thank everybody who has something to do with this, but this is great for our city. thank you. >> thank you. another supervisor who was instrumental in this was supervisor alioto-pier. >> the san francisco board of supervisors can at times been a contentious place.
district 10 has been represented by someone, my colleague, supervisor maxwell, who has done its with such graciousness and beauty, really. whenever she wants something, she always gets it, so i cannot congratulate enough. this is huge for the community she was raised in. i would also like to thank all the people who have been part of this. it is exciting for me, the little bit that i had anything to do with. have to do more with the combustion turbine engines. the idea that we could close down and not build them, i have to say that the one person who, unfortunately, is not here with us today, who was such an
instrumental part and such a force in my life was dick sklar, so i thank him for the work he did and the courage to try to change something. sometimes change can be difficult. now, we will have clean air, not cleaner air, and the city is a much better place for the leadership. thank you all very much. [applause] >> as has been said, this would not have been done without a lot of city staff working on things. the puc staff. the city attorney stuff with just relentless at getting information, demanding change. >> thank you. i do not think i have ever been at a celebratory event where everybody was so candid about
the ups and downs. there are a lot of phone calls, arguments, disputes, but the fact of the matter is everybody was focused on the same goal. that was getting this plant shut, so i wanted to thank yakut for his sticktoitiveness. to mayor newsom, i cannot imagine a better partner in this, because you stop to what you said you were going to do when you came into office, and we have to remember it was a little more than 10 years ago when we were not talking about shutting down the plant. there were discussions about making it bigger. i think it was because of the support of my supervisor who made sure that we all kept our nose to the grindstone and the tremendous influence and support of folks in the community that have been mentioned who made sure that
they saw -- whether they saw sophie maxwell in rebate you or me in the doghouse, that we kept our focus on what was important. you did not see people talking about the potrero power plant or the hunters point power plant, they talked about power in the southeast sector. everybody stood together and knew that we needed to get these dirty polluting power plants out of san francisco. you all deserve a tremendous amount of credit for holding all of our feet to the fire. i cannot thank all of you enough. i know now for the first time in 17 years, when i wake up in dog patch, i'm not going to see smoke coming out of this power plant, and that is tremendous. i want to thank john. he was a hard bargainer, hard negotiator during the agreement to shut this place down.
genon deserves credit for the tremendous work, but i cannot imagine a better gift for the mayor as he goes to the governor, and i know this is one of the proudest moments they have ever had in being in the public light, and they deserve tremendous credit for their leadership. so thanks for all your hard work. thanks so much. [applause] >> i cannot let today go by without a personal story. one of my earliest memories was of a 5-year-old child walking through here. who would have done that? my father worked on the night shift. they were going to be launching a ship, so we were going to go out and watch that be launched. no tears over this place, clearly, but at the same time, this provided jobs. as we start to redo this place,
let's make sure that it creates jobs. it is a place we can be proud of as it creates this new life, and i hope to be your celebrating the new life of all of us. people who work here and can live here with a good job. next, from the california puc, without them, all the stuff that was going on here was pg&e doing their transition upgrades, and we have two commissioners with us today. >> thank you very much. many people have already been thank, and i will just _ that i appreciate their work as well, but i especially want to acknowledge and congratulate the residents of this south west corp. of san francisco, the environmental justice advocates who worked so hard to ensure the plant's closure. without your steadfast dedication to this effort, and along with your patience, we are here to be able to celebrate
this moment today. mike agency played a relatively small part in making this happen, though we like to think it was a crucial part. where we stand is to help ensure the other side of the equation, which was helping make california's clean energy future a reality, so the closing down its plant does not mean that somebody else's back yard gets a new power plant. but really providing leadership in the area of of of all promoting energy efficiency in our state, so we use energy more efficiently. we use less energy overall. making sure that an ever larger proportion of energy we use in california comes from non- emitting renewable resources and only permitting the cleanest and most efficient new fossil fuel power plants. that is the focus of my agency, and i think that as the other piece of the equation, to insure that this is just one milestone on the road to our clean energy future, so congratulations to
all of you, and i wish you the best over the holidays. [applause] >> finally, there was a change in the power grid, so pg&e did their part, and the other major part of what happened was the transbay cable being completed. >> thank you. i think the heavy lifters have already spoken, but the president of the california public utilities commission could not be here today. he had a conflict in southern california, and with the rain storms, i do not think he could have flown up here even if he wanted to, but i want to congratulate again all of the major players in this historic event, particularly our mayor and lt. governor elect. you have been an aggressive and pragmatic force in this state, in this country, in the arecons, and i'm sure your better
accomplishments are yet to come in this field. to my supervisor, we live in district 10. as we would drive into the downtown every day, we would see the exhaust from the marine facility from highway 280, and it was a stark reminder of california's energy needs but also an inspiration as to what we could do going forward to ensure that the residents in the southeast can live with the same quality of air as other areas of san francisco, and it took a champion like sophy maxwell sophysophie -- like sophie maxwell. again, on behalf of the public utilities commission, congratulations to everyone who has been involved in this fight. thank you. >> thank you, commissioner. nowyoucfo of transbay.
>> we are happy to be here and play our part in recognizing the vision of the city leadership, and we want to thank you for your assistance. we've been live now for about three days, and we want to thank some of the key stakeholders that help us build our ambitions. at least of which was the pittsburgh howard company. they played a huge part in working with the stakeholders to get this facility built. steel river for their stick to it of this to help us get the facility built through an economic challenging environment, and we are just happy to play our part and thank everybody for their part in realizing our ambition. thank you. >> i also want to