As expected, utilities, interest groups file Diablo Canyon retirement plans

As expected, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), along with labor and environmental groups, have filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) their Joint Proposal to retire the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and increase investment in renewables and energy storage by 2025.

Diablo Canyon is the last remaining active nuclear station in California and it provides 2,200-MW of non-CO2 emitting power to the California grid. Pacific Gas & Electric is part of PG&E Corp. (NYSE:PCG).

PG&E and the other parties announced the joint proposal on June 21, 2016. Since that time, and in line with the company’s commitment to ensuring an open and transparent process, PG&E has hosted a workshop for groups who formally engage in the CPUC intervenor process, as well as four public information meetings in which PG&E provided an opportunity for the public to ask questions and to comment on the joint proposal.

The State Lands Commissioners in California has approved an application by PG&E to key leases temporarily through 2025.

Under the terms of this joint proposal, PG&E will retire Diablo Canyon at the expiration of its current Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) operating licenses. The parties will jointly propose and support the orderly replacement of Diablo Canyon with GHG-free resources.

Recognizing that the procurement, construction and implementation of a greenhouse gas free portfolio of energy efficiency, renewables and storage will take years, the parties recognize that PG&E intends to operate Diablo Canyon to the end of its current NRC operating licenses, which expire on November 2, 2024 (Unit 1), and August 26, 2025 (Unit 2).

This eight- to nine-year transition period will provide the time to begin the process to plan and replace Diablo Canyon’s energy with new GHG-free replacement resources.

As part of the joint proposal, PG&E immediately ceased any efforts on its part to renew the Diablo Canyon operating licenses, and asked the NRC to suspend consideration of the pending Diablo Canyon license renewal application. PG&E will withdraw the application upon CPUC approval of the joint proposal.

PG&E does not believe long-term customer rates will increase as a result of the proposal. That is because the company believes it is likely that implementing the proposal will have a lower overall cost than relicensing DCPP and operating it through 2044. Factors affecting this include, in addition to lower demand, declining costs for renewable power and the potential for higher renewable integration costs if DCPP is relicensed.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.