While the 2,200 MW of carbon-free electricity from San Onofre would have helped to manage the strain the grid faced during the recent unrelenting heat, its absence offered a preview of the challenges that will worsen if the reactors at Diablo Canyon do, in fact, shut down.
Diablo Canyon produces about 8% of California’s power and approximately 15% of its carbon-free electricity. The plant generates 16.2 million megawatt-hours of electricity a year, which is enough to power 2.5 million homes. This is an asset that California cannot afford to lose as it seeks to manage power demand during heat waves while also working to meet zero-carbon energy targets.
California has an opportunity to bolster its grid, increase reliability and flexibility, and decrease carbon emissions all by continuing to keep Diablo Canyon operational. If the state follows its current trajectory and Diablo Canyon is closed, carbon emissions will increase and reliability will suffer. In addressing the recent blackouts, Governor Newsom was exactly right when he stated, “You shouldn’t be pleased with the moment that we’re in here in the state of California.”