Of all of the endless follies of California these days—I know, it’s hard to enumerate all of them let alone put them in rank order—closing our last nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon ranks perhaps at the top of the list. It provides more than 10 percent of California’s electricity, and can run 24/7, unlike wind and solar power. As one of the last nuclear power plants built and brought online in the 1980s, it easily has another 40 years of potential service left in it, if not more.
The perverse energy policy of California, which excludes nuclear along with any new dams from its legal definition and mandates for clean or “renewable” energy, virtually compelled the closure of Diablo Canyon, and the corporate socialists who run PG&E simply lied to the public that they can make up the shortfall with wind and solar power and magic batteries. In fact, they will make up electricity shortfalls in large part with natural gas and power imports from other states. It will likely cause California’s CO2 emissions (and utility rates) to rise, just as closing nukes in Germany has halted and perhaps reversed the greenhouse gas emissions decline in Germany, while doubling their electricity prices.
Even the very liberal Sacramento Bee has figured out that closing Diablo Canyon is a mistake. It editorialized earlier this week (and hat tip to our lefty friends at the Breakthrough Institute for breaking through to the Bee‘s editorial board):
The closure of Diablo Canyon and the driving forces behind the decommission project show that California’s ambitions are once again being humbled by the constraints of reality. The prospects of delivering on the promises of the 2016 agreement have sharply divided scientists, analysts and think tanks around the state.
This Editorial Board recently met with the Breakthrough Institute, an organization that argues that a carbon-free energy producer like Diablo Canyon needs to remain open. For decades, we’ve been told that closing nuclear plants is a good thing, yet a growing body of research shows that it’s far safer and cleaner than coal and gas. State regulators are failing to eliminate fossil fuels from California’s energy stock, and with alternatives lacking in scale, Breakthrough’s experts believe a more realistic path to achieving California’s climate goals is by salvaging our last nuclear facility.
Meanwhile, have a look at this short video on nuclear power from the brand new “Kite and Key Media” project, whose work we intend to feature more regularly here on Power Line.