gavinsolar.jpgSan Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that the city was awarded a 2010 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environment Protection Agency for the measures taken to generate clean energy for itself.

The environmental award recognizes leading green power generators and purchasers in the United States, mayoral office representative Francis Tsang said in a statement.

“The economic advantages of a green economy are very tangible and we can feel the effects of clean energy in the air we breathe,” Newsom said in a statement. “With each solar panel, day by day, we’re fueling San Francisco’s transformation into a green economy powered by increasingly clean, renewable energy.”

Electricity generated from renewable resources like sunlight, wind, biogas, biomass, or geothermal or low-impact hydro practices is considered green power because it does not emit carbon dioxide, Tsang said.

Energy taken from often-used, problematic sources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear properties is known as brown power because it generates carbon pollution and possibly radioactive waste, which harm the environment, Tsang said.

San Francisco uses nine municipal solar installations and several biogas facilities to create more than 25 million kilowatt-hours of clean power every year, Tsang said.

“By using green power, the city of San Francisco is leading the way toward cleaner air and a healthier environment while helping advance the market for renewable energy,” EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy said in a statement.

The city’s nine current solar set-ups are located on facilities and rooftops throughout the city, as well as a large photovoltaic array at the San Francisco International Airport, Tsang said.

San Francisco will soon garner an additional five megawatts of clean energy from a new solar project at the Sunset Reservoir that will have nearly 24,000 solar panels in its array, Tsang said.

Tsang said the impending Sunset Reservoir solar energy system would be the largest and newest municipal solar project in California.

The city also plans to install low-impact hydro facilities throughout its water delivery system, Tsang said, and the feasibility of offshore wave power generation is being explored.

The city of San Francisco has won awards from the EPA in the past, including one for the solar array on the Moscone Convention Center, Tsang said.

The EPA was scheduled to present the award on Wednesday to representatives of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission at an event held in conjunction with the 2010 Renewable Energy Markets Conference in Portland, Oregon, Tsang said.

The Public Utility Commission is responsible for the installation and operation of San Francisco’s renewable energy generating network, Tsang said.

“We’re honored to accept this Green Power Leadership Award from the EPA,” said Ed Harrington, general manager of the PUC. “Our solar and low-impact hydroelectric projects, as well as our ongoing wind and wave power studies, are making San Francisco a focal point for emerging technologies that are greening our economy and power.”

Kyveli Diener, Bay City News

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