March 24 2015 Commission on the Environment Meeting Approved Minutes


TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2015, 5:00 P.M.


COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Joshua Arce (President); Angelo King (Vice-President), Heather Stephenson, Johanna Wald, Sarah Wan


1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment meeting convened at 5:00 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Arce, King, Stephenson, and Wan; Excused:  Commissioner Wald.

2. Approval of Minutes of the January 27, 2015 Commission on the Environment Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Documents: January 27, 2015 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Stephenson, the January 27, 2015 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, King, Stephenson and Wan; Absent:  Commissioner Wald).

3. Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

4. Presentation on SunShares Solar Group Purchase Program.  SunShares is a City-sponsored program that helps City employees and retirees, among others, obtain a discount on home solar electric installations.  (Explanatory Document:  Sunshares Solar Group Purchase Program Presentation) Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speaker: Terra Weeks, Renewable Energy Program Associate (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Renewable Energy Program Associate Terra Weeks presented a program overview of the San Francisco Sunshares Solar Group Purchase Program reporting on program concept, partners, and administration that include program planning, percentage of participation in San Francisco in comparison to other parts of the country, vendor selection evaluation, registration, and installation.  Ms. Weeks also reported on program and homeowner costs, program challenges, benefits, and conclusions.   She explained that Department staff is in the process of prioritizing the program and allocating funding to continue the program.   Ms. Weeks discussed the value of SunShares in engaging local corporations and in helping reach the City’s climate and energy goals.

Commissioner Stephenson inquired about program eligibility for San Francisco residents.  Ms. Weeks reported on why program participation for San Francisco residents may be lower than in other areas in the United States due to the number of multi-tenant residents, smaller roofs, lower electricity usage, more shading, and sites not feasible for solar.  Commissioner Arce requested that information be provided on the jobs that have been created in our communities and for workforce development graduates from the SunShares program and GoSolarSF.  He suggested encouraging more participation by local solar-installer companies.

Public Comment:  Mr. Eric Brooks, San Francisco Green Party, Our City San Francisco, Co-Coordinator of San Francisco Clean Energy Advocates spoke in support of the Sunshares program and for its continuation in coordination with CleanPowerSF that is scheduled to launch early next year.  He asked that the Department of the Environment and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) work together on “behind the meter” programs such as Sunshares and other energy-efficiency programs so that the Department’s expertise in program implementation, outreach, and job creation be fully utilized.  He encouraged the Department to reach out to the SFPUC Commissioners and staff to ensure that planning for the local build-out over the next few months will be oriented more toward local distributed “behind the meter” resources, and that the Department of the Environment should be provided a primary role in planning.

5. Introduction of New Department of the Environment Staff Members.  Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speakers:  Deborah Raphael, Director and Jen Jackson, Toxics Reduction Program Manager (Information and Discussion)

Director Raphael introduced Daniel Soto of the Clean Transportation team working on Clean Vehicle and Commute Smart programs; Rina Lopez working on Energy Watch and Lauren Szeto, working on energy-efficiency programs; Sarah Koplowicz of the Toxics Reduction and Healthy Eco-Systems program who is working on the commercial Green Business program and Eileen Leung working on the pharmaceutical ordinance.   Commissioner King asked to keep in mind the importance of telling the rest of the country how to live sustainably in a city as we all migrate to city living.  New staff was welcomed to the Department.  Commissioner Wan commended the Department for its hiring practices that includes diversity of staff.

Public Comment:  Mr. Bruce Wolfe, Alcohol Justice, thanked Department staff working on the drug take-back program and commended the Commission and the Department on the success of the program.

6. Director’s Report. Updates on Department of the Environment administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Clean Air/Transportation, Climate, Energy, Public Outreach and Education, Environmental Justice, Habitat Restoration, Green Building, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction, and Urban Forestry. (Explanatory Document: Director’s Report) Speaker:  Deborah Raphael, Director (Informational Report and Discussion)

Director Raphael reported that the mission of the Department of the Environment is to facilitate and motivate people to live sustainably in the commercial, municipal and residential sectors.  Current Department milestones were highlighted as follows:  (1)  inclusion of the Department of the Environment in BuzzFeed’s social media campaign and increase of followers on Twitter and Facebook; (2) notices issued to about 1900 affected buildings mandating compliance with the Green Building Ordinance benchmarking and auditing requirements and the involvement of the Energy Efficiency and Green Building programs in assisting businesses with compliance efforts; (3) Toxics Reduction and Zero Waste team efforts to provide program training to private non-profit developers who will be upgrading public housing; (4) the Whitehouse Climate Leadership award that will provide the Department access to resources; (5) Clean Transportation program outreach efforts to ensure that benefits of environmental successes reach the larger community; and (6) the award of five City Hall Fellows to work with the Clean Transportation team to research and create a proposal to bring electric vehicles to low-income communities. 

Director Raphael reported that the City has exceeded their greenhouse gas reduction goals to 23.5 percent below 1990 levels, and that Community Choice Aggregation will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  She announced that Requests for Proposals for Zero Waste grants will be presented to the Commission at its May meeting. 

Public Comment: 

Mr. Bruce Wolfe, Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council, stated that the Council is close to completing the public realm plan which will change the appearance of Haight Street, provide for wider sidewalks, and more efficiency street lighting.  He stated that it is a great opportunity to consider the installation of curb side charging stations and other products that can integrate car charging and streetlights.  He urged the Commission to recruit a sponsor to pilot efforts to highlight City activities.

Mr. Eric Brooks commended the Director’s Report and the work of the Department and Commission on the Environment.  He stated that San Francisco Clean Energy Advocates are recommending that efforts be made to change the greenhouse gas emission reduction target to 80 percent in response to scientists’ reports that recommend a 100 percent replacement of energy use by 2035.  Mr. Brooks suggested that thought be given to creating new transportation policies and influencing the Municipal Transportation Agency to talk about a bike and walk transit only city policy as opposed to a transit-first city policy and that all cars should be car shares.  Mr. Brooks stated that the expansion of electric vehicle use takes a lot of money and resources and encouraged the Commission to influence the SFMTA and transit agencies to build and fund a free citywide public-transit system.

7. Status Update on CleanPowerSF Program and Timeline for Program Launch.  CleanPowerSF is the proposed City-run Community Choice Aggregation program that would allow San Francisco customers to pool their purchasing power to buy or generate their own electricity from renewable sources.  At the end of the hearing, the Commission may draft and adopt a resolution supporting or opposing, or otherwise taking a position on, the program.  (Explanatory Documents:  EnerNex Presentation and link ( to the EnerNex Report and Energy Efficiency Program Presentation) Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speakers: Barbara Hale, Assistant General Manager – SFPUC, Jason Fried, Executive Officer - San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission, Geof Syphers, Chief Executive Officer of Sonoma Clean Power, Kathleen Bryan, Department of the Environment Energy Program (Discussion and Possible Action)

Chief Executive Officer of Sonoma Clean Power Geof Syphers presented on Sonoma Clean Power’s Community Choice Aggregation program that started providing service to customers in May 2014.  Mr. Syphers discussed the success of the program and program focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, offering competitive rates to customers, and providing renewable, cleaner and more local power.   He discussed the importance of setting realistic expectations and thinking of innovative ways to influence higher program participation through outreach, public education, targeted customer program design, and lower cost strategies.  Mr. Syphers reported that it is an opportune time for starting a program in San Francisco because of the community’s interest in the environment and in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the position of the wholesale market.  He discussed the importance of establishing personal customer relationships and suggested the possibility of establishing a partnership or neutral stance with PG&E.   Mr. Syphers reported that program revenues could be used to leverage local programs and activities and suggested that a buyer could be found to purchase a local wind farm in order to save the bird population, reduce emissions, and support local jobs.  

Executive Officer Jason Fried, San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), reported that EnerNex was commissioned to write a report to answer pending questions about the CleanPowerSF program.  EnerNex is an engineering and consulting firm that helps solve electric power related issues and developing technology and expertise that improve the operation and reliability of electric power systems.  Mr. Fried reported that EnerNex had produced a build-out report (reference explanatory documents) based on review of prior reports and meetings held with City agencies and San Francisco Clean Energy Advocates.  Mr. Fried reported that EnerNex had analyzed: (1) the feasibility of utilizing San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) for CleanPowerSF power procurement; (2) the timing/economic benefits of local build-out and project economic impact; (3) location of potential local and regional projects; (4) energy efficiency strategy; (5) commercial and industrial customers; (6) renewable energy production and hydroelectric generation; (7) customer programs; (8) financing support; and (9) next steps.  Mr. Fried commended the SunShares program and suggested referencing that same type of model for a Community Choice Aggregation program. 

Assistant General Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Power Enterprise, Barbara Hale reported that SFPUC is the program administrator for the City’s Community Choice Aggregation program.  She reported on SFPUC’s work and collaboration with EnerNex and LAFCo to prepare the report and emphasized five key points: (1) emphasis on setting the energy price and then figuring out the mix of supply that can be afforded; (2) recognize that local requirements and preferences can be more expensive; (3) phased implementation is smart with a two-tiered offering to include light green; (4) price the basic first tier type of offering at PG&E rates and include build out with expansion of the program; and (5) remember that generation and investment may impact rates and affect retention of customers. 

Ms. Hale reported that there is now effective program policy alignment, and that SFPUC has been engaged in their own business planning effort that brings the benefits of the Hetch Hetchy Power system to San Francisco in a financially sustainable manner.  She reported on SFPUC’s responsibility for developing an integrated program design for the community choice program to lead with affordability, provide environmental benefits, and provide options and projects for the San Francisco program that will result in more jobs. 

Ms. Hale reported that a two-tiered offering will be presented to the SFPUC Commission for their consideration.  She stated that work is in progress to advance a study on an integrated program design, completing a business plan, increasing staffing, and identifying and obtaining a revised power purchase contract authority in order to implement this program in a cost-efficient and competitive way.  Efforts will be made to monitor PG&E and other community choice aggregation efforts.  Rate setting and program design will be presented to the SFPUC on April 14 with a projected program launch date at the end of this year and full enrollment in spring 2016.  Ms. Hale reported that the program would be offered to both residential and commercial customers.

Commissioner Stephenson inquired about the role of the Department in program outreach.  Ms. Hale reported that discussions have been held with Director Raphael on program collaboration, and a multi-media joint outreach campaign will be scheduled in the future.  Commissioner King strongly urged that the Department be involved in the outreach campaign for the program.  Commissioner King discussed the high cost of living in San Francisco and people leaving the City as a result.  He suggested that people should receive the ultimate benefit of the program by offering them a good price, creating local and living-wage jobs.  Director Raphael reported on opportunities available for the Department to redesign their programs in order to better reach low-income tenants and small businesses that are not afforded to the Department through PG&E. 

As requested by Commissioner Arce, Mr. Syphers reported on Sonoma’s conversations with local building trade councils and affiliates about their position on local build-outs, project labor, wage agreements, and partnerships.  Commissioner Arce discussed the importance of creating partnerships with organized labor and providing jobs and benefits to the community through City programs and in a distributed generation environment.  Commissioner Stephenson commended Sonoma’s community outreach and communication methodology on their program and suggested that San Francisco staff contact Sonoma’s staff on guidelines for San Francisco’s program.

Ms. Kathleen Bryan, representing the Department of the Environment Energy Program, reported on the Department’s present and future role in energy efficiency programs.  She discussed the importance of energy-efficiency as a first step toward renewable energy through the optimization of existing building systems.  Ms. Bryan reported on the Department of the Environment’s success in running the Energy Watch and BayRen energy efficiency programs that contribute 40 percent of the energy-efficiency savings in the PG&E portfolio in San Francisco.   She described the greenhouse gas emission reductions and energy savings benefits that these programs provide, future plans, program challenges, and regulation barriers.  Ms. Bryan reported that the long term vision is to continue to improve on energy efficiency offerings through Community Choice Aggregation and discussed future programs and opportunities.  Director Raphael discussed the opportunity the CleanPowerSF program provides for the Department to work in partnership with the SFPUC.      

Mr. Fried suggested that the SFPUC and Department apply for grants that may be available now before the launch of the CleanPowerSF program.  He commended the Department’s EnvironmentNow program for its work providing outreach on the program at its initial stage and suggested that the SFPUC and EnvironmentNow program partner to provide outreach efforts going forward.

Public Comment:

Mr. Jed Holtzman, Coordinator, 350 San Francisco, discussed the differences between the previous CleanPowerSF program and the current program.  He stated that the last program would opt everyone in for a 100 percent green program at a cost of approximately $6.00 more per month.  The current program is a two-tier system similar to programs in Marin and Sonoma where the default is cheaper and cleaner than PG&E, and the not to exceed rate would be set at PG&E’s brown power rate that guarantees cheaper and cleaner power .  The 100 percent green program that would be offered would be more than PG&E’s for some time. 

Mr. Holtzman stated that the previous program was to hire Shell Energy to perform the work, and that the current program would be staffed in house by the SFPUC with work staying in the local economy. The last program was initially for residential only customers while the current program would be for both commercial and industrial sectors and would generate more revenue.   The previous program questioned the jobs that would be created, whereby the current program has a plan for jobs as reported in the EnerNex report.  Mr. Holtzman discussed the potential for behind the meter jobs that could be created and increase the figures cited in the EnerNex report.  He discussed the benefits of the Department of the Environment’s involvement because of their expertise in working with the community on energy efficiency programs.

Mr. Eric Brooks discussed the local community benefits that the current program would provide such as local jobs, local union jobs, and wages, and that he and energy advocates would not support the program if it was not guaranteeing these benefits.  He reported that the EnerNex report shows that 4500 local jobs would be created in this area, and that advocates are making sure that jobs would be local union jobs that would be directed toward the underserved communities.  He asked that Commissioners unanimously support sending communication to the SFPUC and the Board of Supervisors in support of the program, and that the letter ask SFPUC and Power Enterprise staff to engage the Department of the Environment in its planning for behind the meter resources for businesses and homes to maximize local jobs.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Stephenson, second by Commissioner Wan the Commission approved issuing a letter to the SFPUC stating:  (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, King, Stephenson and Wan; Absent:  Commissioner Wald.)

“The Commission on the Environment supports moving forward with the new version of CleanPowerSF that offers a product that is affordable, green, and creates local union jobs.  We also offer the support of the San Francisco Department of the Environment to assist the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) in this effort particularly with respect to planning, behind the meter resources such as energy efficiency and renewable energy and with respect to community outreach.”


All matters listed hereunder constitute a Consent Agenda, are considered to be routine by the Commission and will be acted upon by a single roll call vote of the Commission. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless a member of the Commission so requests, in which event the matter shall be removed from the Consent Agenda and considered as a separate item.

8. Approval of Resolution 2015-02-COE Adopting the 2015 Reduced Risk Pesticide List and Exemptions for City Properties. Under the Environment Code, the Department maintains a Reduced Risk Pesticide List identifying those pesticides that may be used on City property, subject to limitations, and authorizes limited exemptions from the List. (Explanatory Documents:  Approved Resolution 002-15-COE, 2015 Reduced Risk Pesticide List and Pesticides Exemptions Requests) Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director (Action)

9. Approval of Draft Resolution 2015-03-COE in Support of Gleneagles Training Academy and Sustainable Golf and Recreation Initiative. The Initiative is a public-private program at the City’s Gleneagles Golf Course to train economically disadvantaged San Francisco residents for work related to sustainable practices in golf course operations and related activities. (Explanatory Document:  Approved Resolution 003-15-COE) Sponsor:  Commissioner Joshua Arce (Action)

Commissioner Arce disclosed for the record that the Gleneagles initiative has a lot of different partners including his union, Union Local 261, and that he has done work with Labors Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coalition, which is a partner and entity separate and apart from Local 261.  The Laborers Community Training Foundation and the Laborers Training Center which are the parties involved in Gleneagles are separate and apart from organizations he has done work with.

Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Stephenson, Resolution File Nos. 2015-02-COE Adopting the 2015 Reduced Risk Pesticide List and Exemptions for City Properties and 2015-03-COE in support of Gleneagles Training Academy and Sustainable Golf and Recreation Initiative were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, King, Stephenson and Wan; Absent:  Commissioner Wald).


10. Operations Committee Chair’s Report.  Review of the agenda for the May 13, 2015 Meeting. (Informational Report and Discussion) Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Wan, the Operations Committee Chair’s Report was tabled without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, King, Stephenson and Wan; Absent:  Commissioner Wald).

Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Wan, the Operations Committee Chair’s Report was tabled (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, King, Stephenson and Wan; Absent:  Commissioner Wald).

11. Policy Committee Report. (Informational Report and Discussion)
Chairs Report:  Highlights of the February 9 and March 9, 2015 Meetings and review of the Agenda for the April 11, 2015 Meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421.

Director Raphael reported that the Policy Committee at its last two meetings discussed the Gleneagles partnership, Reduced Risk Pesticide List, and received an update on work to resolve the recycling redemption center issue with supermarkets. She reported that the Committee issued permission for the Department to participate in the Interstate Clearinghouse, a multi-state partnership looking for safer alternatives to toxic chemicals. 

Public Comment:

Mr. Eric Brooks congratulated the Department, Commission, and SFPUC for showing the type of leadership that supports programs such as Gleneagles and stated that if every department did the same, every city job would be a union job.  He suggested that all city jobs should be union jobs in the future and commended the Commission for heading the city in that direction. 

12. Announcements.  (Information and Discussion)  Commissioner Stephenson discussed a visit that she and Commissioner Wald participated in to the Jepson Prairie Compost Facility and recommended that others schedule a visit when possible.

13. President’s Announcements.  (Informational Report and Discussion) Commissioner Arce accepted a gift from the Department of the Environment to congratulate him on the birth of his son.  President Arce announced the relaunch of the Property Assessed Clean Energy and GreenFinanceSF programs and would report back with additional information at a future meeting.

14. Commission Secretary’s Written Report. (Explanatory Document: Commission Secretary’s Report and Correspondence Log) Monica Fish, Commission Secretary (Informational Report and Discussion)
• Communications and Correspondence
• Update on City Legislation

Commission Secretary Monica Fish provided a written update on communications and correspondence received and City legislation since the January 27, 2015 Commission meeting.  She reminded Commissioners to submit their electronic Statement of Economic Interest Form and Sunshine and Certificate of Ethics Training forms to the Ethics Commission by the due date of April 1, 2015.

15. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action) 

Commissioner Stephenson suggested scheduling another joint meeting with the SFPUC and holding a discussion on how the Department can be involved in offering a green toolkit or training to new startup businesses in San Francisco.  Ms. Hale stated that she would convey the Commission’s interest in a joint meeting to the SFPUC Commission Secretary.  Commissioner King suggested a future discussion on synthetic turf fields.

Public Comment:  Mr. Eric Brooks concurred that a discussion should be held about synthetic turf fields pointing out that there are more jobs associated with real grass.  He also agreed that it is important for the Commission to have a joint meeting with the SFPUC so that the public can be involved and apprised of CleanPowerSF plans.  Mr. Brooks asked that the communication to the SFPUC that the Commission voted on under Agenda Item 7 be issued to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission right away because the SFPUC and the Board of Supervisors will be making decisions within a couple of weeks, and the communication will be valuable in making sure decisions are made in the right direction.  Director Raphael clarified that the communication would be issued right away, but that there would be a future meeting scheduled to discuss the CleanPowerSF program as it moves forward.

16. Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. 

There was no public comment at this time.

17. Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

The next Regular Meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 2015, 5:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 416.

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA  94102 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  A photo I.D. is required for entry to the building, (2) on the Commission’s meeting website at included with minutes by meeting date; (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].  For an audio recording of this Commission meeting, access this link 

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393