Elected officials in San Francisco, home of bankruptcy-bound Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), has passed an ordinance to ban the use of natural gas in new construction and renovations of municipal buildings.
The all-electric requirement is effective for all projects permitted as of Jan.1 this year, including libraries, community centers and office space.
The eleven-member board governing the dual jurisdiction unanimously voted in favor of the ordinance as a first step in the city and county’s decarbonization efforts. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman has proposed a broader gas ban that relates to all new construction.
About 44% of San Francisco’s overall emissions come from buildings, and 84% of the building emissions come from natural gas, according to city officials.
PG&E, which is supportive of bans on gas if they are proven to be economic, has 327,000 gas customers in San Francisco, including 311,000 residential customers, according to utility spokesperson Jennifer Robison.
“PG&E supports local government policies that promote all-electric new construction when cost-effective,” said Robison. PG&E supports California’s climate and renewable energy goals, she said.. “We recognize that part of achieving these goals involves increasing the use of energy efficient electric appliances in buildings.
“Beyond new construction, PG&E believes in a multi-faceted approach to cost-effectively achieve California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction objectives, including both electrification and decarbonizing the gas system with renewable natural gas and hydrogen.”
The California Energy Commission in mid December approved attempts to limit gas use within five cities and one county. The approval OK’d building requirements against new gas use in Menlo Park, San Jose, San Mateo, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and in Marin County.