California · Energy

Study: Keeping Diablo Canyon on-line will aid Calif. climate goals

With the future of Diablo Canyon uncertain, a new study shows that keeping California’s last nuclear power plant open would help the state achieve its climate goals at a lower cost. 

Carbon Free California commissioned the study, which was completed by international consulting firm The Brattle Group. 

Diablo Canyon is scheduled to shutter its operations by 2025, as agreed to by the state and Pacific Gas and Electric, the plant’s operator. 

But California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently revealed plans to apply for $6 billion in federal funds that are set aside for nuclear reactors that are on their way out. 

That would effectively delay Diablo Canyon’s upcoming shut-down and give the state more time to utilize the plant’s nuclear energy production. 

According to the study, keeping Diablo Canyon online could help California achieve its goal of having a carbon-free electric grid by 2035 at a cost that would run $5 billion less than if the plant closed down. 

That would set California ahead of schedule by 10 years, since the goal is to have 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. 

“Diablo Canyon is already the largest clean energy resource in California, a state that has set the ambitious goal of a carbon-free electric grid,” said Brattle Group Principal Sam Newell in a statement. 

“In combination with a dramatic expansion of solar, wind, storage and dispatchable clean technologies, the study shows that keeping Diablo Canyon online will help California achieve its goals faster, at less cost and with greater grid reliability.” 

California ratepayers could also see their costs reduced by $4 billion, the study found. 

The study comes after Carbon Free California released a poll last month that shows 58 percent of California residents support keeping Diablo Canyon open.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.