Keeping Diablo Canyon Power Plant Online Would Help California Decarbonize Faster, More Reliably, and at Lower Cost
SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Expanding Operations at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, California largest single source of carbon-free electricity generation, would significantly reduce emissions and use of natural gas, and accelerate progress toward the state’s ambitious clean energy goals, according to a new study published by Carbon Free California. Conserving Diablo Canyon could help avoid power outages, significantly reduce electricity costs, and provide the best opportunity for California to achieve its climate goals, even with the widespread deployment of renewables and energy storage.
The analysis, conducted by the Brattle Group, found that keeping Diablo Canyon online could also help enable California achieve a carbon-free grid by 2035, a decade earlier than the state’s current goal, at a cost $5 billion lower than if the factory was retired. These early reductions could help kick-start economy-wide decarbonization and reduce California reliance on gas-fired power generation, reducing cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 40 million metric tons of CO2.
“Diablo Canyon is already the world’s largest source of clean energy. Californiaa state that has set the ambitious goal of a carbon-free electricity grid,” said Brattle Group Principal Sam Newell. “In combination with a dramatic expansion of distributable solar, wind, storage and clean technologies, the study shows that keeping Diablo Canyon online will help California achieve its objectives faster, at lower cost and with greater network reliability.”
The study found that keeping Diablo Canyon in California energy portfolio could reduce costs to ratepayers by a net present value (NPV) of approximately $4 billioneven with an assumed capital investment of $2 billion to meet state seawater consumption standards. These system-wide savings result from shifting generation to gas and fossil fuel imports and reducing other resource costs needed to meet clean power and reliability goals.
This report comes at a time when the Newsom administration has indicated an interest in exploring the option of retaining Diablo Canyon and the state faces significant power reliability challenges. Recently released survey found that 58% of state residents believe Diablo Canyon should continue to operate, with even greater support in the local community surrounding the plant.
Brattle Group’s full analysis is available here.
what others say
“The report, drawing on the work of Stanford and MIT researchers, takes an insightful look at the benefits of California to keep Diablo Canyon in our state’s zero-carbon electric mix. Given that state policymakers have reconsidered the wisdom of shutting down the plant, it’s worth seriously considering this highly credible work.”
- Michael Waradirector of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at the Woods Institute for the Environment in Stanford University
“For California to stay on track with its deep decarbonization goals, everything must align, especially in the electric power sector. This means a massive expansion of renewable energy supply and transmission at unprecedented rates. This new analysis shows that the expansion of Diablo Canyon would indeed give California more options because it determines how to add all these renewable energies. California’s decarbonization plan is important primarily because it is a model for the rest of the world. If California fails — because deep decarbonization proves impossible or the grid becomes grossly unreliable — it will send a signal that could set back global efforts to cut emissions and slow global warming. We have to get it right, which means putting all the options on the table to help the state decarbonize.”
- David-Victorholder of the Innovation and Public Policy Chair, University of California, San Diegoand director of the Deep Decarbonization Initiative
“This report from the Brattle Group provides strong and accurate support for keeping the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in working order. California The goals of reliable, carbon-free power will require clean, firm power – power available when you need it, for as long as you need it. In a system where cheap but seasonally variable solar power is a dominant part of the electricity portfolio, Diablo Canyon’s 2.2 gigawatts will keep carbon out of the atmosphere while keeping the lights on in California when renewable energy is not available. California would be wise to keep this plant running. »
- Jane Long, associate director for energy and environment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (retired) and lead author of the recent study on decarbonization requirements California electrical system
ABOUT CARBON FREE CALIFORNIA
Carbon Free California is funded by Californiaand brings together leaders from business, labor and technology to focus on creating a path to a zero-carbon future and securing the clean, reliable energy needed to power the world’s fifth-largest economy. Carbon Free California believes the state must pursue all forms of emission-free energy to address the climate crisis and meet our urgent emission reduction goals. Expanding the operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant will bolster the grid with reliable carbon-free power and allow the state to shift to increasing shares of wind and solar power, while avoiding disruptive power outages and expensive. Carbon Free California receives no funding from utility interests or the nuclear industry.
ABOUT THE BRATLE GROUP
The Brattle Group answers complex economic, financial and regulatory questions for businesses, law firms and governments around the world. Brattle is distinguished by the clarity of its ideas and the credibility of its experts, who include leading international academics and industry experts. Brattle has 500 talented professionals on four continents. For more information, please visit Brattle.com.
SOURCE California Carbon Free