02.05 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

PEAK OIL PREPAREDNESS TASK FORCE

 

REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2008, 3:00 P.M.

 

CITY HALL, ROOM 421

ONE DR. CARLTON B. GOODLETT PLACE

SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102

 


TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  Jeanne-Marie Rosenmeier (Chair), Bernard Meyerson (Vice-Chair), Carl Duisberg, Patricia Gerber, Jan Lundberg, Jason Mark, and Marya Stark

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 


1.       Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force convened at 3:03 p.m.  Present:  Members Duisberg (3:15), Gerber, Lundberg, Mark, Meyerson, Rosenmeier, and Stark.  

 

2.      Approval of the January 2, 2008 Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes.  Upon Motion by Chair Rosenmeier and second by Member Stark, the January 2, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Chair Rosenmeier, Vice-Chair Meyerson, Members Mark, Gerber, Lundberg and Stark; Absent:  Member Duisberg) (Explanatory Document:  January 2, 2008 Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action) (5 minutes).

 

3.       Overview of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Power Enterprise services provided to its customers (Informational Presentation and Discussion)  (60 minutes)

SPEAKER:  Barbara Hale, Assistant General Manager, SFPUC

 

Ms. Hale presented an overview of SFPUC Power Enterprise services provided to its customers that include electric, energy efficiency, and renewable services to all city municipal departments.  It was explained that the SFPUC relies on the Charter, which establishes the SFPUC as the municipal energy provider, the Mayor’s Green Energy and Clean Air program, and resolutions and ordinances as authorization to provide renewable and energy-efficiency services and programs.  Ordinances had also established the adoption of the Electricity Resource Plan, which was prepared by the PUC. 

 

Member Mark inquired about the number of vacant City-owned properties (brown field facilities and watershed properties) available for leasing.  Ms. Hale explained that the Power Enterprise does not own property to lease and would report back on whether the other two PUC enterprises, Water and Wastewater do. Member Gerber inquired as to whether the SFPUC issues building or construction permits.  Ms. Hale reported that Power Enterprise does not issue permits, as customers are primarily municipal and would report back on the other two enterprises. 

 

Ms. Hale explained that the SFPUC pays PG&E to perform the transmission and distribution services for municipal departments.  Municipal departments are charged for these services through the annual budget process.  A discussion was held on SFPUC’s power distribution priorities that include (1) municipal; (2) Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts for municipal and pumping requirements; (3) the Airport and to their tenants; and (4) Riverbank Munitions Industry run by Norris Industries, a federal contractor.  Remaining power can be provided to anyone as a retail customer or for sale on the wholesale market.  The SFPUC is not allowed to sell Hetch-Hetchy hydropower to a for-profit entity for resale; but there is an option to sell power to Modesto Turlock in excess of their municipal agricultural pumping requirements.  

 

Member Gerber inquired as to PUC’s scenario planning if the planet runs out of hydrocarbons and during an interim decline.  Ms. Hale reported that the Power Enterprise has a program for increasing reliance on non-fossil resources, has a Climate Action Plan, and funds the Department of the Environment’s membership in the Climate Action registry as well as staffing for climate issues. It was stated that the biggest impact on day-to-day choices would be how to provide the 140 megawatts of power to San Francisco and the airport, which is primarily through renewable resources, e.g. hydropower and on-site renewable generation.  Ms. Hale explained that the PUC is advisory in the City’s efforts in recertification, new design review, and to ensure that smart building choices are made.  It was stated that the SFPUC sponsored broader initiatives such as the Climate Summit and is working on the PUC-wide sustainability planning effort.  Ms. Hale recommended that additional PUC staff be invited to attend future meetings to discuss these efforts. Ms. Capria reported that the SFPUC is reviewing potential impacts on the water system from reductions in the snow pack, which is peak-oil related as hydro resources are impacted.

 

Vice Chair Meyerson inquired if the PUC has a strategic plan for selecting photovoltaic projects.  Ms. Hale reported that the PUC has completed a general municipal route survey and identified promising locations.  Several of the factors to consider would be if a route is old and there is no plan for refurbishment, if the roof has to be replaced soon, location, demand, whether there is solar shading, and if structurally sound.  Ms. Hale reported that the pace of development in San Francisco was previously one system a year; now it will be expanded for more and larger systems each year.  It was explained that PUC has projects in development; 2 megawatts installed now, and Requests for Proposals would be issued to install 5 to 7 more megawatts.  Ms. Hale discussed Assemblyman Mark Leno’s AB 2573, which will enable the City of San Francisco to install large-scale solar projects at locations best suited for solar generation.  Additional topics discussed included:

 

·         SFPUC is the power provider for Treasure Island and maintains a distribution system at that location. 

·         SFPUC would be providing power for the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard which involves working on a new green community with two megawatts of on-site solar and providing additional required resources to residents and businesses.

·        PUC’s interconnection agreement with PG&E that provides PUC with transmission and distribution services. 

·        PG&E’s provision of electricity banking services and its benefits.

·        SFPUC is the designated administrator for the Community Choice Aggregation program and availability of a Draft Implementation Plan for review.

·        Wind studies that had been prepared showed that wind regimes are not consistent enough for cost-effective wind deployment.  Alternative locations outside of San Francisco are being reviewed.  PUC is continuing to evaluate as technologies change and opportunities change in the market place for deploying renewable resources.

·        SFPUC’s support of the Department of the Environment in its efforts to evaluate energy efficiency for non-municipal customers.  PG&E has energy efficiency programs that the state requires it to run, and the Department of the Environment is San Francisco’s third-party provider in partnership with PG&E.

 

Public Comment

 

Gene O’Keefe discussed the promising potential of new-wave technologies and inquired as to whether the Task Force would be discussing this topic in the future.  It was reported that one organization has partnered with PG&E for a project on the Humboldt coast.

 

Michael Rousseas discussed the future expense of purchasing solar and whether it would be cost effective in comparison to other technologies.

 

Mike Kurokawa discussed the long-term expense of power and renewables and the viability of PUC engaging in long-term contracts or competing in the marketplace.

 

Antoinetta Estadelman discussed the long term viability of solar and wind as it requires a large amount of oil to make the panels and build windmills.

 

Rob Everett questioned the economic sense of solar installations and PUC’s consideration of alternatives.

 

Dennis Brumm discussed the in-availability of materials and economic viability of photovoltaic installations.

 

Jim Hein discussed alternative methods of harvesting solar energy.

 

Unidentified Speaker recommended that government should develop public policy for solar installation start-up industries in order to stimulate development and long-term efficiency.

 

David Satori, Sustainable Living Road Show, inquired whether the Task Force would be interested in hosting or being part of an event in San Francisco to stimulate public awareness of the need to decrease reliance on fossil fuels.

 

Charles Simons, epidemiologist, Public Health, if public health would be a component of the Task Force’s discussions.  It was suggested that Mr. Simons hold discussions with Vice Chair Meyerson.

 

4.      Progress Reports by Section--including plans for public meetings, and discussion of Work Plan.  Members can use this opportunity to make suggestions to other topic leaders. (Discussion) (5 minutes each, plus public comment, total 45 minutes)

      Economy - Marya Stark

Transportation - Jeanne Rosenmeier

Infrastructure - Bernie Meyerson

Architecture - Pat Gerber

Food - Jason Mark

Alternative Energy - Carl Duisberg

Societal Functioning - Jan Lundberg


Economy: Member Stark reported that she and Chair Rosenmeier talked with the Chief Economist for San Francisco, Ted Eagan and co-author Jennifer Matz of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development, who completed a study in November called Sustaining our Prosperity San Francisco Economic Strategy.  The report provides an analysis of San Francisco’s economy and how it breaks down by sector.  A discussion was held on the importance of testing for price sensitivity and responses of different sectors to changes in oil prices; however, the report is not designed to do that. 

 

Chair Rosenmeier reported that she had met with Ms. Matz who indicated that the City has a lot of programs that will help the Task Force as they try to develop a post-fossil fuel city.  It was indicated that a meeting would be set up with Mr. Eagan to discuss this topic.  Member Stark stated that it was important to consider how to remove policy barriers that would provide for conservation (e.g., density) and to people becoming more efficient and conserving energy.  It was explained that San Francisco does not produce anything it consumes and improvements to local production are necessary.  A discussion was held on the necessity for maintaining tourism in San Francisco as tax revenues and jobs related to supporting tourism are important to San Francisco’s economy 

 

Transportation: Chair Rosenmeier reported that she had reviewed MUNI rider-ship surveys about where people are riding MUNI and where they would like to be riding MUNI.  It was stated that the Mayor commissioned a report on the potential of making MUNI free and impacts; e.g., an increase in ridership, need for additional buses, staffing, and costs. It was explained that the report addresses important issues.  Chair Rosenmeier discussed the concept that if transportation costs for driving a car increase, public transportation prices would go down, and people would be more inclined to take public transportation.  Chair Rosenmeier questioned why MUNI is not moving towards a larger percentage of electric buses.  Member Mark suggested reviewing the congestion pricing proposal.  Chair Rosenmeier indicated that she would be identifying a MUNI staff person to meet with on transportation topics.

 

Infrastructure:  Vice Chair Meyerson reported that he had spent most of his time researching data on municipal infrastructure for public agencies such as the Police and Fire Departments, hospitals, jails, and the airport.  It was reported that the Police Department uses gasoline engines exclusively and does not seem to be interested in change, citing a safety exemption. Vice Chair Meyerson indicated that he is investigating whether Police Departments across the state use similar standards and whether the standards preclude alternative-powered vehicles. 

 

Vice Chair Meyerson reported that the City’s diesel fleet runs on 80% regular diesel and 20% biodiesel.  Biodiesel still has to be imported at this time, but there is an effort to work on more local production of biodiesel to fulfill the 20% biodiesel use.  There is also an effort to move towards increasing the percentage of biodiesel in diesel vehicles.  A discussion was held on utilizing maximum use of available dollars now as opposed to later when there won’t be as much money available.  It was stated that increasing fuel costs would increase stress in the population, especially in the economically marginal population.  It was suggested that methods be reviewed to servicing the economically marginal population.

 

Architecture: Member Gerber reported that she has been working with Chair Rosenmeier on reviewing the economic analysis of the green building report and would be reviewing green building legislation.  A review of the net metering policy would also be worked on. Member Gerber discussed methods the marine industry uses to mitigate their rat problem which can be adapted to street trees that produce food and would speak to Member Mark.  Chair Rosenmeier inquired whether there is an optimal building height for energy efficiency.  Member Gerber reported that it would be seven stories.

 

Food. Member Mark reported that he has held discussions with people in San Francisco who are engaged in food production and would be researching the numbers on current food production within San Francisco in February.  It was stated that there are only two known food producers in San Francisco.  Member Mark also discussed (1) the importance of San Francisco receiving local food sources within a 100-mile radius; (2) assessing where the City is currently in food production, distribution, human caloric needs, and intake; (3) reviewing Department of Public Works rules on street tree planting; and (4) holding a public forum on food as part of the peak oil assessment. 

 

Vice Chair Meyerson recommended that (1) people be influenced to start buying local seasonable food so that supermarkets will start responding to that type of demand; (2) supermarkets be required to more routinely identify food sources; (3) determine the types of fruits and vegetables that would most efficiently yield nutritional and caloric requirements; and (4) analyze how far you would have to push past the 100-mile radius and what that would require in order to feed San Francisco and the Bay Area.  Member Mark reported that there are approximately six million people living in the San Francisco Bay area.   

 

Energy.  Member Duisberg discussed the high cost of solar in comparison with hydro and hydro carbons in California.  Additional topics of discussion included (1) the importance of education; (2) the energy cost in transportation of produce; (3) the water use of certain produce over other produce and water having a high intrinsic energy value; (4) energy efficiency or reduced consumption of energy as the most fundamental investment in the energy area; (5) architecture, types of agriculture, and kind of transport becomes important because all of those things have the potential to reduce the amount of energy used to get the same service or benefit.  Member Duisberg reported that he is responsible for reporting on the section of how to increase efficiency which would have a lot to do with people’s expectations.  Vice Chair Meyerson suggested creating enough energy savings so that PUC could bank enough to cover the 50 megawatts that they have to buy. 

 

Societal Functioning. Member Lundberg reported that there are the seven basic areas of peak oil to focus on for anticipating societal changes.  It was stated that social functioning could be the way people learn how to deal with peak oil and interact with others as opposed to waiting for orders from government or the news media.  With these seven interconnecting areas and all subsystems, there is great complexity with our society and more interdependence.  A discussion was held on (1) the importance of the societal functioning group reaching out and involving the public so that ideas can be presented for mitigating the effects of peak oil; (2) creating a list of action items to take regarding peak oil; (3) having to change the way we live because inexpensive energy would not be available; and (4) moving toward alternative methods of transport that is not dependent on oil.

 

Member Lundberg stated that a matrix listing the elements of social functioning and a proactive approach would be created.  It was suggested that a Task Force public outreach letter be created to send to NGO’s, schools, and religious organizations, etc. offering their expertise and advising of a meeting to be held in City Hall to gather input. Additional recommendations included creating publications and outreach to the general media on the Task Force’s mandate. 

 

Task Force members discussed methods for obtaining suggestions from the public; e.g., a website blog that a Task Force member could be assigned to respond to.  Vice Chair Meyerson discussed the question of the culture and interrelationship changes that would have to take place over time in order to accommodate a lessening availability of fossil fuels.  It was stated that changes would have to be made with consumption of goods/foreign goods and things society currently takes for granted. 

 

Public Comment

 

Dennis Brumm inquired about the percentage of biodiesel that is being imported.  Ms. Capria stated that all B20 is current being imported.  A discussion was held on the restaurant grease collection program that has just started that could result in local availability of biodiesel.

 

Nathan Rogers stated that there needs to be a shift of what society thinks is normal as we have had an abundance of inexpensive energy, and the paradigm is coming to a close.  The need for a massive media campaign was discussed.  Mr. Rogers suggested creating an online blog with an online blog master in order to create a media for public input. 

 

Gene O’Keefe reported that Israel is in the process of trying to get everyone out of gas- powered vehicles and into electric cars and is working with Renault Nissan on this effort.  Mr. O’Keefe suggested that the Task Force contact Renault Nissan on how the project called “Project Better Place” is being run.

 

Antoinetta Estadelman stated that the City’s budget would be affected when there is a peak oil shortage. It was suggested that historical data be researched on how to deal with budget cuts so that it is accomplished in a sustainable way.

 

Unidentified Speaker requested that the Task Force (1) consider the loss of Department of Parking and Traffic money from parking meters from less car usage into the city; (2) inquired who would be providing electric energy if there were to be a shift toward electric (whether it would be municipal or PG&E), (3) ensure that there be continued access towards health-related care; and (4) inquired whether MUNI would be installing more rail or electric lines.  A discussion was held on the City of Oakland’s Green Job Corp that provides funding for job training for lower income communities.  Chair Rosenmeier reported that San Francisco has a similar program.

 

Unidentified Speaker discussed the goal of the Task Force and report.  It was suggested that the Task Force consider fermentation.

 

Unidentified Speaker discussed the viability of more people becoming farmers and stressed the importance of food distribution.

 

Unidentified Speaker discussed tidal wave as a viable energy source. 

 

Unidentified Speaker discussed the importance of creating concrete proposals that can be done, maybe not immediately but within a practical timeframe. 

 

Cal Simone stated that he was in favor of a MUNI electric system but not all on wire.  If the system were to shut down, the entire city would be immobile.  Mr. Simone indicated that he would not recommend bringing more people into the City as (1) a dense population would cause problems with food-shortages, and (2) a larger population could cause more social unrest resulting in more police and government intervention.

 

Unidentified Speaker recommended that (1) the Task Force should consider detailed plans to deal with state and federal regulations; (2) consider food security; (3) connect with local firms such as farmers markets to provide food; and (4) consider BART as a method of bringing freight into the City. 

 

Member Mark stated that society would be moving from a culture of abundance or perceived abundance to scarcity that would require cultural shifts.  The mandate of the Task Force is to provide policy recommendations to the City.  What can the City do with its modest budget to facilitate a cultural shift—does it mean creating different layers of government, such as neighborhood councils or participatory budgeting?  Decision-making would be needed in a resource-constrained society.   

 

Item 7 was heard before Items 5 and 6.

5.      Comments Letter regarding Green Building Construction Requirements: Economic Impact Report.  Approval of Comment Letter to Controllers’ Office of Economic Analysis (15 minutes) (Discussion and Action) (15 minutes)

 

Continued to the Call of the Chair.

 

6.      Establishing Contact with City Departments, Supervisors and Mayor.  How to make contacts with City Departments, Supervisors, and the Mayor in particular regarding interim actions in keeping with the Peak Oil Preparedness mandate. (Discussion) (15 minutes)

 

Members discussed sending a letter and the City’s peak oil resolution to City government offices advising them (1) that they should not be conducting business as usual with any developments or policies that perpetuate petroleum dependence; (2) to establish contact with City departments at this time.  Member Gerber recommended that each Task Force member meet with their district supervisor and select an additional Supervisor.  Chair Rosenmeier requested that this item be continued to the March meeting in order to discuss a letter/proposal. 

 

7.      Selection of Second Meeting Date, Time and Location.  Choice of possible second meeting-- possibilities being second, third or fourth Tuesdays. Request for Bylaws amendment notice to be published reflecting the amendment (Discussion and Action) (5 minutes).

 

Public Comment:  Cal Simone suggested 5 to 7:30 p.m. as a meeting time and volunteered to prepare meeting minutes.

 

Task Force members chose the third Tuesday of each month from 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., City Hall, Room 421, as a second meeting date and agreed to a rotation of minute-preparation.  It was stated that the first meeting held on March 18 would be to discuss the Economy and Energy sections of the report.

 

Member Mark left the meeting at this time.

 

8.      New Business/Future Agenda Items (Information and Discussion) (5 minutes).  Chair Rosenmeier requested that Task Force members email her suggestions for future agenda items.

 

9.      Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Task Force on matters that are within the Task Force’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda (15 minutes total).

 

Unidentified Speaker asked about the process for the Task Force sending information to the public.  Ms. Fish stated that (1) there is an agenda mailing list that includes members of the public; (2) the Chair usually responds to inquiries by members of the public, and (3) the secretary usually sends out information to a quorum of members, keeping a copy for the public record.

 

Antoinetta Estadelman inquired as to why wind propellers do not all function at the same rate.  Member Duisberg stated that the maintenance of the original wind turbines had not been that good; but subsequently, Power and Light that owns a majority of the wind turbines have been making sure that they work properly.  

 

10. Adjournment.  The Task Force meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

 

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Task Force office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) upon request to the Task Force Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org, or (3) at the Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force meeting website as attachments with each agenda or meeting minutes.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Task Force Secretary

 

Approved: March 4, 2008

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