Diablo Canyon: Fantasy Replacement Power


PG&E has proposed closing California's last nuclear power plant, calling on energy efficiency, renewables, and energy storage to replace this valuable source of baseload power.  This replacement scenario is a fantasy.  Natural gas will be used to replace Diablo Canyon.  Case closed.  Diablo Canyon produces nearly 9 percent of the state’s electricity.

California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires 50 percent of utilities’ power to qualify as renewable by 2030. According to state law, nuclear energy does not qualify. Since renewable energy, such as solar and wind, is typically an intermittent energy source, utilities and grid operators need to supplement renewables with compatible energy sources. This typically translates to avoiding high capacity baseload plants, in favor of more flexible generation, such as natural gas.

In its formal proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E proposed that the plant should cease operations by 2024 and 2025, when its current nuclear licenses expire.  (Energy Digital, 2/8/2017)