San Francisco aims to become carbon neutral by 2045 and speeds up transition to 100% renewable electricity for all residential customers

City of San Francisco logoMayor London N. Breed today announced San Francisco’s newest environmental and climate change commitments, including an ambitious target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and becoming a carbon neutral city in the next 24 years. Included in these commitments is moving up San Francisco’s net-zero carbon goal by five years to 2045. This ambitious target is five years ahead of most net-zero goals under the Paris Climate Agreement and means the City must dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors by 2045 in order to slow the threat of climate change.

Additionally, Mayor Breed announced the City is exceeding its key environmental goals. This includes:

  • CleanPowerSF will provide all customers 100% renewable electricity by 2025, five years ahead the City’s goal of 2030 and twenty years ahead of the State’s goal of 2045.
  • As of 2019, San Francisco’s emissions have dropped to 41% below 1990 levels, which is six years ahead of the City’s goal of reaching a 40% reduction by 2025.

These new announcements build on San Francisco’s climate and environmental efforts to-date, which have resulted in a significant reduction in San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions. Mayor Breed made this announcement at Thrive City, the outdoor district surrounding Chase Center, which is San Francisco’s newest Green Business, and she was joined by representatives from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the San Francisco Department of the Environment, and Chase Center.

“Even with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco has continued to push ahead with our commitment to sustainable and innovative environmental policies that set a standard for the rest of the country. We’re taking bold, aggressive action because our future depends on it,” said Mayor Breed. “The effects of climate change are impacting all of us—especially our most vulnerable communities. As we emerge from this pandemic, our climate goals will help us recover in a way that’s even more resilient and equitable.”

In order to achieve the new goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, San Francisco will continue to take bold and aggressive action on a range of climate policies and programs. A significant reason for the City’s success in reducing emissions is CleanPowerSF, the City’s community choice energy program. To provide all of San Francisco with clean energy, CleanPowerSF has now procured enough clean energy to go 100% renewable by 2025. The transition to 100% renewable energy is five years ahead of CleanPowerSF’s initial goal of 2030 and 20 years ahead of California’s projected timeline.

“It is clear that CleanPowerSF is making a significant impact on our City’s ability to meet and exceed our environmental sustainability goals,” said SFPUC Acting General Manager Michael Carlin. “Through our public power programs, we are powering San Francisco with local, cleaner and more renewable energy sources that also give our residents and businesses a chance to do their part to combat climate change. We will continue to grow San Francisco’s public power programs with a focus on increased affordability, safety, reliability and accountability.”

CleanPowerSF serves about 380,000 customer accounts in San Francisco and currently offers two electricity products—Green and SuperGreen. The Green product provides a 50% renewable energy mix, while the SuperGreen offers 100% renewable energy at a cost of about $3 extra a month for the average household. Because of CleanPowerSF’s increased investment in renewable energy sources and successful procurement policies, San Francisco will be able to transition all 380,000 customers into 100% renewable energy plans at no extra cost.

The transition to renewable electricity has been pivotal to the City’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. As of 2019, San Francisco has reduced its emissions 41% below 1990 levels according to the latest data from the Department of Environment, exceeding its goal to reduce emissions 40% by 2025. This represents an 8% reduction from the previous year. In addition to CleanPowerSF, some of the other drivers of emission reductions include energy efficiency programs, green building codes, cleaner fuels, and the switch to renewable diesel. Once a new year begins, it takes a little over a year of data gathering and analysis to finalize that year’s emissions. The City typically reports these results in April of each year.

“I’m proud of this City’s substantial achievements in meeting our environmental goals early, thanks to the hard work of each and every resident, and to our innovative policies and programs,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “Make no mistake, while we’ve made it this far, taking the step to further our goals five years sooner will require grit, ingenuity, innovation—all of the values that make San Francisco so great.”

Many of these new goals and the strategies to realize them will be codified in legislation that will update Chapter 9 of the City’s Environmental Code. Mayor Breed and the San Francisco Department of the Environment will introduce this legislation at the Board of Supervisors in May. This summer, the Mayor will also release an updated Climate Action Plan for the City that encompasses strategies in six critical sectors that will meet the goals outlined in updated Chapter 9 Environmental Code. Notably, the legislation includes an ambitious new target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

Environmental leadership in the private sector is also essential to the City’s climate action strategies. Chase Center, home to the six-time NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, announced today that after a year of energy improvements and water conservation upgrades, they have been certified by the Department of the Environment as San Francisco’s newest Green Business. Chase Center is the only NBA arena that is Green Business Certified in California.

“Focusing on sustainability has been at the core of everything we’ve done since the day we started development on Chase Center,” said Chase Center General Manager Kim Stone. “Being located in one of the most environmentally-friendly cities in the world, we want to make sure we are doing our part to minimize our environmental impact and reduce our carbon footprint.”

The San Francisco Green Business Program recognizes businesses, non-profit organizations, and institutions in the City and County of San Francisco that meet high environmental standards in energy use, energy efficiency, water conservation, and zero waste. To achieve this certification, Chase Center demonstrated a commitment to sustainable practices in numerous areas of its day-to-day business operations including water conservation, energy use reduction and waste diversion. Other notable Green Businesses include Oracle Park, Cal Academy of Science, and the Exploratorium.

In addition to the commitments announced today, San Francisco continues to make progress on other elements of its climate action plan, including reducing emissions from office buildings and homes, promoting transit, transitioning to zero-emission transportation, and eliminating waste.

About the SFPUC’s Clean Energy Programs
Managed by the SFPUC, CleanPowerSF is the City’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program. Launched in 2016, it has a mission to provide San Francisco residents and businesses with clean, renewable electricity at competitive rates. CleanPowerSF now serves about 380,000 customer accounts in San Francisco.

Along with CleanPowerSF, the SFPUC operates Hetch Hetchy Power, which provides 100 percent greenhouse gas-free energy to public facilities such as City Hall, schools and libraries, San Francisco International Airport, some private commercial developments, and affordable housing. Collectively, the two systems meet over 70% of the electricity demand in San Francisco.

About the San Francisco Green Business Program
The San Francisco Green Business Program (SFGBP) is an assistance and recognition program, managed by the San Francisco Department of the Environment. The SFGBP provides access to free city services, resources, and rebates along with hands-on technical assistance support to local businesses, encouraging businesses to take proactive actions to green their operations and activities.

To become recognized, businesses complete a set number of measures pertaining to their business practice in the areas of water conservation, energy efficiency, pollution prevention, environmental purchasing, and waste reduction. Some sample measures include adopting an environmental policy statement, setting up compost bins in kitchen areas, installing low flow toilets, retrofitting light fixtures, and using environmentally friendly cleaning products.