FuelCell – San Jose expands its pure gasoline ban. Some say it ought to do extra
San Jose accelerated its rush towards all-electric infrastructure with the Metropolis Council vote on Tuesday to ban pure gasoline in new business buildings constructed after December 2021.
The town had already banned pure gasoline in new residential buildings, together with condos and single-family properties. However the coverage had not affected business buildings like retail and workplace areas — till now.
The pandemic has not slowed the Bay Space’s embrace of climate-friendly electrical infrastructure. San Jose’s vote got here the identical day that Oakland’s Metropolis Council additionally voted to ban pure gasoline in newly constructed business buildings, together with new residences. And final month, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban gasoline home equipment in new buildings, each business and residential.
San Jose’s newly expanded coverage, which handed 8-3, is just not an entire ban on pure gasoline in new business buildings. Exemptions can be found for brand spanking new hospitals, power crops, some meals preparation services and manufacturing services.
As well as, buildings can proceed to make use of pure gasoline on-site to offer backup electrical energy as wanted — a mirrored image of officers’ consciousness that energy outages, comparable to these geared toward stopping wildfires, can damage services which might be totally reliant on electrical energy. Some gadgets that make this potential, gas cells, are made by the San Jose firm Bloom Vitality.
Bloom Vitality, which focuses on gas cell expertise powered by pure gasoline, pushed for that exemption for on-site backup energy as a result of it views pure gasoline as “an enabler of a renewable future,” based on Steven Lamm, director of sustainability for the corporate. It’s cleaner than diesel, a standard supply of backup energy when the grid fails, firm representatives mentioned.
Nonetheless, Metropolis Council members Pam Foley, Raul Peralez and Magdalena Carrasco voted towards the ban as a result of they assume the exemption for gas cells holds again the town’s progress towards an all-electric, decarbonized future.
Whereas Peralez acknowledged that Bloom Vitality’s trajectory is “inventive,” he famous that the pure gasoline that powers a gas cell is usually produced by the controversial course of often called hydraulic fracturing, which he opposes.
Opponents of the exemption mentioned that whereas diesel, one other frequent supply of backup energy in outages, is problematic, another choice for backup is batteries. And expertise may but present different choices.
Foley mentioned that the gas cell exemption retains San Jose from being “laser-focused” on an all-electric actuality, freed from fracked gasoline.
“Every exemption that we put in place is more greenhouse gases that are going into the air and polluting our environment and destroying our atmosphere,” Foley mentioned in a phone interview. “The reason I voted against the exemptions was because I did not feel that it preserves the environment for the future for our children and our children’s children.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo voted for the measure on Tuesday as a result of it supplies “options for those who critically need them,” like hospitals, each time PG&E’s energy grid has rolling blackouts.
Bryan Mena is a San Francisco Chronicle workers author. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org