S. David Freeman
Freeman has been termed an "eco-pioneer" for his environmentally-oriented leadership of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). He had done a similar job at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), after President Jimmy Carter appointed him to head the TVA board in 1977, changing the TVA focus from growth to conservation. Freeman decided to stop construction on several nuclear projects that may have contributed to several rate increases with TVA. He also headed other major energy organizations, including the New York Power Authority and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP).
Freeman became general manager of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in 1990. He has said that SMUD was an embarrassment at that time, and the district was "reeling from two decades of rate hikes, construction cost overruns, operating failures, equipment outages, worker injuries, poor morale and management scandals". Freeman left SMUD in 1994 and as of 2012, SMUD is considered a model of efficiency, service and innovation. The turnaround began in 1989 when the people of Sacramento voted to close the Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station.
According to Freeman, since opening in 1971, Rancho Seco had "suffered dozens of emergencies, shutdowns, releases of radioactive material and accidents". Freed of this costly, unreliable and dangerous nuclear power station, SMUD went on to earn a worldwide reputation for its affordable, clean, renewable energy programs.
Freeman has authored several books, including Energy: The New Era (1974), Winning Our Energy Independence (2007), An All-Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future (2016) and an autobiography, The Green Cowboy: An Energetic Life (2016). Other books that contain his works include Oral history of the Tennessee Valley Authority: Interview with S. David Freeman, March 30, 1984 and Speeches by S. David Freeman (1997).
|“||I say this based on my experience as the former head of the TVA, which bought and burned more than 30 million tons of coal a year. I was deeply involved in the strip mining, underground mining, trucking, and most importantly, the burning of huge quantities of coal. No one who has been deeply involved with coal can rightfully say it is clean.||”|
|— S. David Freeman in Winning Our Energy Independence: An Energy Insider Shows How (2007), p. 39, ISBN 1423611640|
- Steve Lerner (1998). Eco-Pioneers: Practical Visionaries Solving Today's Environmental Problems. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-62124-X.
- Richard F. Hirsh (2003). Technology and Transformation in the American Electric Utility Industry. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52471-7.
- S. David Freeman (Jun 2, 2012). "Viewpoints: Time has come for California to embrace a nuclear-free future". Sacramento Bee.