California Passes Law To Replace Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power With Renewables

Diablo Canyon

Diablo Canyon

Last summer, state regulators approved a plan to close Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuclear reactor. That plan also slashed hundreds of millions of dollars for worker retraining and community support — and failed to require that Pacific Gas & Electric seek out carbon-free resources to replace the facility.  

SB 1090which passed the state Senate in May and this week was approved by the State Assembly on a 67-to-1 vote would restore that funding and ensure that the plant’s 2.2 gigawatts of always-on, carbon-neutral electricity will come from a portfolio of greenhouse-gas-free resources.  Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill.  He will sign the bill into law.

SB 1090 would restore about $85 million in community support funding, along with about $89 million in funding for worker retraining and retention that was stripped from the plan by a California Public Utilities Commission decision in January. 

But the decision also drew condemnation from the same coalition of environmental, community and labor groups that reached the 2016 settlement agreement with PG&E, which set the original terms for helping the San Luis Obispo region recover from the loss of jobs and tax revenue to come when the plant closes by 2025.  

The new legislation also restores a key piece of the 2016 settlement agreement that was left out of the CPUC’s decision in January — a requirement that Diablo Canyon’s energy and capacity must be replaced with a portfolio of greenhouse-gas-free resources. 

Southern California Edison was forced to close the power plant in 2013, and the CPUC instructed the utility and San Diego Gas & Electric to seek out a large portion of the resources needed to replace it from zero-carbon resources, including hundreds of megawatts of distributed energy.  (Green Tech Media, 8/24/2018)