S. David Freeman

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S. David Freeman (born January 14, 1926)[1] is an American engineer, attorney, and author, born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, who has had many key roles in energy policy.

Freeman has been termed an "eco-pioneer" for his environmentally-oriented leadership of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).[2] 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.Today, TVA’s generation portfolio is 37% nuclear, 24% coal, 20% natural gas, 9% hydro, 3% wind + solar and 7% energy efficiency.[[1]][3] He also headed other major energy organizations, including the New York Power Authority and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).


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.[4]

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.[4]The largest power source for Sacramento is the 500 MW Cosumnes gas plant. [[2]]


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).

In Winning Our Energy Independence, S. David Freeman says we have the renewable energy we need to wean ourselves from the Three Poisons: foreign oil, dirty coal and dangerous nuclear power.


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