by Brittany Raymer
Former Digital Writer & Editor
Senator Dianne Feinstein is raising concerns over plans to decommission the state’s last nuclear power station, known as Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. The decision to close this plant was made by the California State legislators, but it could have a severely negative impact on the state’s electrical grid.
Located along California’s southern coastline near San Luis Obispo, the station and its sister station further south are well-known for having a rather curious resemblance to the female anatomy. Despite its appearance, the station currently provides 8% of the state’s power and 17% of its carbon-free energy.
Regardless of its ability to support and fuel the state’s failing electrical grid, the legislature voted to decommission the facility in 2016.
But politicians, like U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), are raising the alarm about the dangers of removing the state’s last remaining nuclear facility, which could result in rolling blackouts during the hottest months of the year.
“California has some of the most ambitious clean energy mandates in the world,” Feinstein wrote in a letter to Democrat State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Democrat State Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins. “However, despite massive investments and commitment, development of non-emitting renewable energy resources like wind, solar, and geothermal are not projected to be installed in time to meet California’s energy demand without power from Diablo Canyon.”
A bipartisan team have already submitted legislation that would allow the station to avoid its 2025 cutoff date, which Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) supports.
Despite being one of the wealthiest states in the country, California’s electrical grid is rife with issues.
The biggest problem is capacity. With a population of nearly 40 million, California is the most populous state in the nation. Given its hot desert climate, it also needs a lot of A/C in the summer months, which puts an enormous strain on the system. The move towards electric vehicles also means that the state needs more electricity to power the Teslas and other green energy cars its demanding people switch over to by 2035. There’s also the additional wildfire risk due to the crumbling infrastructure of Pacific Gas & Electric Co., a company that has been responsible for 1,500 fires in the state in the span of about six years, including the deadly Camp Fire in 2018.
Needless to say, it’s a recipe for disaster.
That’s why the state should not abandon its nuclear station, and why North Carolina should not follow the western state’s example when it comes to green energy policy.
California may have, as Senator Feinstein put it, the “most ambitious clean energy mandates in the world,” but at what cost? If the pursuit of green energy makes life more unbearable, expensive, difficult, time consuming and, perhaps, even deadly, is it worth it?
Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina is hoping to push the state into the green energy revolution, including putting a whole field of wind turbines off the coast and investing in solar power. But if he wants to starve off the electricity apocalypse heading to California, the greatest way to do that is by investing in nuclear power.
Learn more about North Carolina’s Energy Crossroads and the benefits of nuclear power in the Tar Heel State here.