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Bob Meinetz's picture
Nuclear Power Policy Activist Independent

I am a passionate advocate for the environment and nuclear energy. With the threat of climate change, I’ve embarked on a mission to help overcome the fears of nuclear energy. I’ve been active in...

  • Member since 2018
  • 6,979 items added with 260,885 views
  • Feb 1, 2021

"Electricity routinely flows between the Lower 48 states and, to a lesser extent, between the United States and Canada and Mexico. Electricity generation exceeds electricity consumption in 25 states, and excess electricity is transmitted across state lines—almost 10% of U.S. electricity generation is traded among states. In 2019, California’s net electricity imports were the largest in the country at 70.8 million megawatthours (MWh), or 25% of the state’s total electricity supply. Pennsylvania’s electricity exports were the largest of any state in 2019, at 70.5 million MWh, or 24% of total supply."

To replace the carbon-free, reliable energy from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in 2012, Edison was forced to import power from other Western states. What was generating that power? Only Edison knows, but they aren't telling. That's because Assembly Bill 62, passed in 2009, says CA utilities don't have to reveal the sources of some of their electricity. They can simply assign it to a category labeled "Unspecified sources of power", and take no responsibility for whatever CO2 was emitted to generate it.

Given California utilities (and the state itself) are only too eager to take credit for renewable energy, wherever it was generated, we can safely assume Edison bought cheap power from coal/gas plants in Utah and Arizona. We can safely assume the swap create at least 8 million tons of added CO2 emissions, but California avoided counting it because, I guess, it was emitted beyond its borders.

If California's Public Utiltiies Commission (CPUC) is planning to use the same deception when Diablo Canyon (nuclear) Power Plant closes in 2025-26, they're doing a lousy job of concealing it. In the graph below, note CPUC's planned additions to energy imports that correspond precisely, in quantity and timing, to the shutdown of of Diablo Canyon Units 1 & 2 in 2024-25:

As I've predicted for some time, California residents might have to endure a few extended outages before they'd appreciate the reliable supply of power produced by their state's nuclear plants, vs. the unpredictable, meager supply from its wind and solar farms. Our state's Independent System Operator obliged last August with statewide rolling blackouts - and  because local unreliability can affect regional system reliability, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has taken notice, too.

Solar, wind, and gas entrepreneurs in California should expect big changes going forward - their happy little scam is coming to an end, and not a moment too soon.


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