SF's Jolly Green Mayor Wants Wave, Solar, Plug-In Power

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today rattled off an impressive number of initiatives the city is undertaking to become a world leader in sustainability, including his plans to generate electricity from the waves off the San Franciscan coast. The Public Utilities Commission has recently commissioned URS, a San Francisco-based engineering firm, to do a feasibility study for wave energy, the same firm that did an initial study for tidal energy under the Golden Gate Bridge. The results of the new wave energy study could be in as soon as May, Mayor Newsom said.

Chatting over coffee at a media briefing, Newsom also talked excitedly about his new solar rebate program, which kicks off April 1; his admiration of Project Better Place’s electric car project in Israel and San Francisco’s own plug-in hybrids program, and his forthcoming zippy Tesla Roadster (he’s #51 on the list).

Newsom also spoke passionately about his proposed carbon tax, which could be the first of its kind in the U.S. Aiming to tax pollution, the mayor proposes to concurrently cut taxes on payroll — rendering the tax “revenue neutral” — so as to reward job growth while penalizing emissions. Newsom said McKinsey Consulting recently teamed up with the city, pro bono, to mete out what the emissions tax should be in order to hit that revenue equilibrium.

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