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With Diablo Canyon Shutting Down In 2024-25, How Will California Make Up Its Energy Void?




Aerial view of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County, California on March 17, 2011.
Aerial view of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County, California on March 17, 2011.
MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

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The Los Angeles Times reported that Diablo Canyon’s nuclear power plant, owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, is set to no longer run following the expiration of its licensing in 2024. With the plant and its pressurized water reactor making up nearly 10% of California's energy portfolio, it leaves many wondering how all that energy will be replaced?

For California’s Public Utilities Commission, they have released two proposals to make up for this future discrepancy, with it creating a potential of 11,500 megawatts for the state. This follows a report they released which had referenced that the closing of Diablo Canyon may lead to an increase in gas-fired energy. 

Today on AirTalk, we bring on a panel of guests to speak on the future of Diablo Canyon, focusing on what are the best ways to make up its energy void as citizens begin to grow concerned of the ongoing climate crisis. Questions? Call us at 866-893-5722.

We reached out to PG&E for an interview and they unable to join, but sent us this statement:

PG&E delivers some of the nation's cleanest electric power. We remain focused on safely and reliably operating Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) until the end of its current operating licenses and planning for a successful decommissioning.  PG&E is committed to California’s bold clean energy future, and as a regulated utility, we follow the energy policies of the state.   

 The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) referred replacement procurement issues related to the loss of DCPP output to a CPUC energy planning proceeding known as the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).  PG&E is continuing to work with the Commission and other stakeholders to ensure that the Integrated Resource Planning process avoids an overall increase in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) as a result of the retirement of Diablo Canyon in 2024 and 2025, as required by SB 1090.  

 PG&E expects to procure new clean generation and energy storage capacity resulting from the Commission’s mid-term reliability and procurement ruling (CPUC order expected this summer), which is specifically targeted at replacing Diablo Canyon’s capacity, as well as other once-through cooling units expected to retire by mid-decade.

Guests:

Edward Randolph, California Public Utilities Commission director of energy and climate policy

Sammy Roth, energy reporter for the LA Times, he tweets @Sammy_Roth

Mark Specht, senior energy analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists

Andrew Christie, the director of the Santa Lucia chapter of the Sierra Club