San Jose bans natural gas in historic move to limit emissions

San Jose approved a ban on the use of natural gas in nearly all new construction, making history as the largest US city to do so.  The ban takes effect in new commercial and high-rise residential building beginning in August 2021.  San Jose now joins San Francisco, Oakland, Menlo Park and Berkely—the first city to enact such a ban—in approving ordinances to require all-electric powered appliances in new construction.

Previously, San Jose had approved a ban on natural gas in single-family homes and low-rise multi-family buildings up to three stores, which has already gone into effect in early 2020.  Unfortunately, at the last minute, Bloom Energy used its political connections to get the council to approve an exemption that allows for the use of Bloom’s fuel cell products, which use natural gas as a means of providing energy to buildings—even though they emit more than “three times as much carbon dioxide” as power from San Jose’s utility.

San Jose’s council sided with those arguing for the exemption, in part because PG&E has had so many black-outs, brown-outs and grid warnings, people can no regard the grid as a reliable and dependable source of power.  “We’re pushing folks towards an electric grid that is not reliable and not dependable, the mayor said.  “We hope all that changes in the years ahead, but PG&E is many years and tens of billions of dollars away from fixing its problems.”

Read more in the East Bay Times: “San Jose adopts historic natural gas ban—but with a controversial exemption.”