San Francisco Department of the Environment

Urban Wind Task Force Recommendations Report

In order to better understand San Francisco’s urban wind opportunities, the Urban Wind Power Task Force explored the potential for small-scale wind generation in San Francisco and developed recommendations for advancing City policy to encourage the expansion of local wind power generation. Comprised of representatives from the small wind industry, environmental community, green building, labor, workforce development, research labs, prospective residential and business customers, State regulatory agencies, PG&E and relevant City departments, and coordinated by the Mayor’s Office and the SF Environment, the Task Force met monthly for eight months to explore key issues facing small-scale wind power development in urban environments.

Specific Task Force Issues Addressed Include:

  • Small Wind Technologies, Testing and Certification
  • Understanding the Wind Resource and Data Collection
  • Permitting
  • Costs & Incentives
  • Potential Impacts on Flying Animals
  • Clean Tech and Workforce Development Opportunities
  • Public Awareness and Possible Demonstration Sites

While much remains unknown about the use of small wind turbines in urban environments, urban wind has the potential to offer several benefits. Besides mitigating climate change and reducing the need for fossil fuels,

Urban Wind Has the Potential to Provide:

  • Homeowners and businesses with a clean, distributed energy option for managing their energy needs and savings while increasing their property values
  • Examples of distributed generation at or near the point of use;
  • Integration into an existing transmission grid and built environment; and
  • An opportunity to create new green jobs.

Though San Francisco has only a “moderate” medium- to large-scale wind on-shore resource, the City’s small-scale wind resource is not yet fully understood. Conditions in some parts of the City may be suitable—perhaps optimal—for micro- and small-scale “urban” wind applications. This report highlights the Task Force’s key findings and provides recommendations to help the City advance urban wind power.

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