2020 Impact Awards: James Hendry, Utility Specialist, Power

This year, we received 60 nominations in the individual category. Nominators took the time to tell us about their amazing SFPUC colleagues and partners. They thoughtfully shared with us why they nominated these impactful individuals. Their written nominations also give us a view into other departments and areas we may not be familiar with. We hope reading the written nominations will inspire you as much as they did us.

Thank you, James, for having such a profound impact on those around you and SFPUC! 

Award: Financial Sustainability Award 

Nominated by: Catherine Spaulding and Terry O’Sullivan

We are nominating Jim Hendry of Power Enterprise’s Regulatory and Legislative Compliance team for an Impact Award because, otherwise, we would feel the need to organize a small parade to celebrate his extraordinary contributions to Power Enterprise’s over the past year. His work laid the foundation for Power Enterprise’s new service offering Hetch Hetchy Power customer an electricity option that 1) qualifies as “renewable energy” under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulations, and 2) leverages significant benefits to Hetch Hetchy Power’s electrified transportation customers such as the Municipal Transportation Commission (i.e., MUNI, or SFMTA).   

Power Enterprise’s financial sustainability and ability to continue investments in environmental stewardship are both substantially improved due to Jim’s efforts. Meanwhile, through those efforts, Jim has exemplified the core values we strive for here in the SFPUC:  

  • Personal Excellence, for his initiative, creativity and persistence in identifying this opportunity to segregate and package Hetch Hetchy’s RPS-eligible generation, thereby maximizing the economic value of SFPUC’s existing generation resources;
  • Service to our customers, through his recognition of the potential value that Hetch Hetchy Power could potentially provide to MUNI and other electric transportation customers, and his tireless efforts to influence state and local policymakers (see below) to realize that potential;
  • Environmental Stewardship, since the additional revenues leveraged by Jim’s actions are directly funding energy efficiency, renewables and other clean energy investments both at SFPUC and at MUNI; and 
  • Teamwork, where Jim has collaborated successfully with a wide variety of colleagues, both inside Power Enterprise (Risk Management and Business Analysis, Customer Programs, and Origination and Power Supply) and outside (MUNI and California Air Resources Board – see below).


Jim Hendry took the initiative to identify the revenues that San Francisco could receive from the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program.  He successfully developed a SFPUC LCFS program that in December 2019 brought San Francisco $11 million in new revenues, split 50/50 between the SFPUC and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). The money will be used to help balance the SFPUC budget and promote greenhouse gas (GHG) free energy and green programs.  The SFPUC expects to receive $5 million/year from the LCFS program going forward, also to be split 50/50 between the SFPUC and SFMTA.

The purpose of CARB’s LCFS program is to reduce GHG emissions from transportation fuels 20% by 2030.  The program rewards firms that use alternative transportation fuels (such as electric energy) to replace diesel and gasoline.  CARB then gives LCFS credits to these firms that represent the difference in GHG emissions between diesel/gasoline and the alternative fuel.  These LCFS credits can then be sold, rewarding those firms that took action to reduce their GHG emissions.

Jim early on recognized the potential of the LCFS program for San Francisco.  The SFPUC provides GHG-free energy to SFMTA, which in turn operates a large fleet of electric buses, trolleys, and light rail vehicles.  Jim worked with other municipal utilities to advocate before CARB that these public transit vehicles would be eligible for the LCFS program.  This allowed SFMTA to enroll in the LCFS program.

In 2017, the SFMTA approached the SFPUC over how to track and sell its LCFS credits.  Jim worked with SFMTA to develop a MOU (approved by the Commission) with SFMTA to cover the tracking, reporting, and sale of the LCFS credits with proceeds to be split 50/50.

As the potential sale of LCFS credits exceeded $1 million, Jim worked with Government Affairs to have the Board of Supervisors adopt an Ordinance giving the SFPUC the right to sell LCFS credits.  The Ordinance is one of the few Ordinances that gives the SFPUC delegated spending authority over the use of the LCFS proceeds.  Jim followed up and worked with SFPUC procurement staff to successfully market and sell the LCFS credits.

In addition to working within the City, Jim also successfully advocated before CARB to maximize revenues to San Francisco as CARB undertook a major re-write of their regulations in 2018.  Jim’s efforts resulted in Hetch Hetchy’s electric generation being declared as an eligible fuel for the LCFS program and that San Francisco’s electric energy would be recognized as GHG-free for purposes of calculating LCFS credits rather than being based on the statewide average for the electric sector.  This increased the amount of LCFS credits San Francisco received by about $2 million/year.

In order to qualify Hetch Hetchy generation as zero-GHG resource for the LCFS program, Jim developed the initial “green tariff” program that provided SFMTA with Hetchy energy that meets CARB’s zero-GHG LCFS requirements.   This was the first “green tariff” application in California to be approved by CARB.  This green tariff program is currently being expanded to other City agencies and SFPUC customers who want a documented zero-GHG energy source.Overall, the LCFS program, and the resulting $11 million in revenue, would not have occurred without Jim’s efforts.