Tell San José to Ban ALL Gas in New Buildings!
Tell the San José City Council & Mayor Liccardo NOT to water down our all-electric new buildings!
San José is poised to take a key step on December 1st to protect climate and health by expanding its historic all-electric building code to virtually all new buildings, including high rises and commercial facilities. However, at the last minute, a San Jose company, Bloom Energy, is attempting to carve out an exemption for its Bloom Energy Servers, or Bloom Box fuel cells, which are currently powered primarily by fracked gas, destabilizing the climate.
Please copy, personalize, and send this sample email ASAP. If received by 9am December 1st, it will be included in the letters from the public before the vote.
Thank you for acting to preserve a livable climate for all children!
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Subject: Pass updated gas ban; reject Bloom Energy’s request for an exemption (Agenda Item 6.1)
Dear Mayor Liccardo, Vice Mayor Jones, and Council Members Jimenez, Peralez, Diep, Carrasco, Davis, Esparza, Arenas, Foley, and Khamis,
As a San Jose [or South Bay] resident, as a [parent/youth/concerned citizen], and as a supporter of Mothers Out Front, I urge you to reject Bloom Energy’s request for an exemption from the Updated Natural Gas Infrastructure Prohibition Ordinance.
I strongly support the Updated Natural Gas Infrastructure Prohibition Ordinance. If not watered down, this forward-thinking ordinance will go a long way toward meeting our climate-smart goals and preserving a livable climate for all children.
But I am strongly opposed to Bloom Energy’s request for an unwarranted exemption that would allow for the use of fuel cells powered by liquified “natural” gas.
Allowing an exemption for fuel cells is unnecessary and would:
- Violate the goals of the gas ban prohibition, allowing gas to be used in new buildings.
- Harm the climate and make it harder to achieve our climate goals.
- Set a bad precedent for other cities as they seek to electrify their buildings, essentially greenwashing a technology that’s powered by dirty gas.
Bloom and its boosters claim that their fuel cells are needed to provide backup power in the event of power outages. However, they are so expensive that they are only economically viable if used 24/7/365 to provide continuous baseload power. Since the fracked gas they are powered with generates huge quantities of greenhouse gas emissions, permitting their use in our new buildings over the next four years would threaten San Jose's ability to reach its climate goals. Allowing Bloom Boxes to be used to provide “backup” power is like killing a flea with a tank.
A better solution, until battery storage capacity is sufficient, is to allow diesel generators to provide backup power to critical businesses only during shutoffs. This would avoid further building out the fossil gas infrastructure that San José's gas ban is designed to avoid. It would be much better for the climate to use back-up diesel power only during power shutoffs than to use fracked gas-powered fuel cells continuously. In fact, it would take 150 days of diesel generator use to produce the same CO2e emissions as the Bloom Boxes would produce each year! And once cleaner forms of backup power are available, the diesel generators can be discontinued, whereas the dirty gas-powered fuel cells would be used for at least five years to a decade or more.
Don't allow Bloom to strong arm an end-run around our visionary all-electric code! Fracked gas is fracked gas, whether it is burnt in a power plant, a building, or a fuel cell. Dirty energy should only be allowed, if needed, to provide temporary, limited back-up power, not baseload energy. If Bloom wants to have its Bloom Boxes used in new San Jose buildings, it should be required to power those fuel cells with clean energy, not fracked gas.
San Jose should not throw away its climate goals in order to appease one company. We cannot afford to water down our essential climate policies by allowing the continued build-out of gas infrastructure until halfway through this decade.
You are the people responsible for protecting the people and the environment. If you care about climate and its effects on our children and grandchildren, you will stand up for us by insisting on the strongest possible gas ban ordinance.
[Your name & address]
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