Herrera applauds the end of Potrero Power Plant’s operations by the new year

Closure caps years of efforts by City leaders and community activists, ‘assures a cleaner, greener and healthier San Francisco’

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 21, 2010) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today applauded an announcement by Mayor Gavin Newsom and the state organization responsible for regulating California’s electricity grid that the Potrero Power Plant in San Francisco will effectively cease operations by the new year. The final shutdown of the half-century old facility, which is the City’s last fossil fuel power plant, was approved by the California Independent System Operator, or CalISO, with the placement of the Trans Bay Cable into successful commercial operation. Today’s letter from CalISO to the plant’s new owner, GenOn California North, LLC, confirmed that the “reliability must-run” designation, which was the final hurdle to close the facility, would terminate effective January 1, 2011. The closure culminates years of efforts by city leaders and community activists to shutter what is among the state’s oldest and dirtiest power plants.

“This is a major achievement that assures a cleaner, greener and healthier San Francisco,” said Herrera. “The fight to close this power plant has been long and occasionally contentious, but I’m grateful for the efforts of San Francisco’s leaders and community activists to see this process through to its successful conclusion. I’m particularly grateful to Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisors Sophie Maxwell and Michela Alioto-Pier, former Board President Aaron Peskin, PUC General Manager Ed Harrington, and former PUC General Manager Susan Leal for being such tireless and effective advocates along the way. My own office also lent considerable expertise and thousands of hours of hard work to the cause over the years, and I’m especially thankful to Chief Assistant City Attorney Jesse Smith and Energy Team Chief Theresa Mueller for their excellent work.”

Herrera reached a key legal agreement in August 2009 with Mirant, the plant’s previous owner, to permanently shutter the facility by the end of 2010, and to secure the Atlanta-based energy giant’s unprecedented commitment to join the City in actively pushing for the plant’s closure should state or federal energy regulators attempt to delay it. Under terms of that agreement, Mirant paid $1 million to the City to help address pediatric asthma in nearby communities and to initiate other mitigations in neighborhoods adjacent to the fossil-fueled facility.