San Francisco voters back solar power measures championed by Greenpeace

Press release - 11 November, 2001

Bleached coral, Great Barrier Reef. Effects of climate change.

Marrakech - As environment ministers from around the world gather inMarrakech to finalise the details of the Kyoto Protocol, San Franciscans overnight voted in favour of two solar power initiatives that will make the city a US national leader in solar energy use.

The two initiatives, Propositions B and H, will fund up to 50 megawatts of solar power, far more than the 8 megawatts of solar in nearby Sacramento, the country's largest current installation. The renewable energy propositions garnered 73% and 55% of votes cast respectively. Greenpeace's Solar Yes campaign was an integral part of the success of the solar ballot measures. The city will sell US$100million in revenue bonds to fund solar and wind projects on municipal buildings, and will authorise the city to raise additional funds for renewable projects without voter approval.

"Today's vote sends a strong, clear message to the Bush administration, as well as politicians in Marrakech," said Danny Kennedy, Greenpeace's Clean Energy Now! Campaign Coordinator. "Fossil fuels are dirty, expensive, insecure and they cause global warming."

San Francisco's vote will be a major boost for the solar industry, creating a large increase in US domestic demand. It could also spur other cities or states to take similar steps. An upcoming Greenpeace study, "Solar Promise," shows how US states would benefit from a modest investment in solar power. The study details the possibilities of new job creation and pollution cuts in each state derived from an increase in solar power. The "Solar Promise" report will be available on-line at on November 8.

The Greenpeace "Solar yes!" campaign involved a core group of five young organisers working 10-18 hour days for almost two months. The group distributed 50,000 leaflets, left 250,000 pieces of literature on doors, distributed 1,500 signs for store and home windows and called 50,000 voters. They recruited more than 200 volunteers to work on the campaign and enlisted the aid of 25 churches and community groups.

"The difference between victory and defeat in this campaign was the hard work of our young organisers. They have been out there revealing the great possibility that solar power has for San Francisco and the entire country - now the challenge is for other cities and states to see the light and go solar," Kennedy added.

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