An agreement to pull the plug on the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in San Luis Obispo County was settled in 2016. But plans to close it in 2025 were delayed last year when California was hit in the mouth with an extreme heat wave that threatened the power grid. The realists, or rather near-realists, felt it necessary to extend the life of the last surviving atomic energy facility in the state until at least 2030.
But unreasonable and impractical activists never go away.
Consequently, Friends of the Earth, an environmental group that isn’t on friendly terms with humanity, has filed a lawsuit to block the extension.
Diablo Canyon generates nearly 9% of the electricity used in California. If that power— 16,477 gigawatt hours—goes offline in two years, what will replace it? Solar? Wind? If so, both will have to be sharply expanded to make up for the loss. The former would have to grow from the 14.2% it generates now, including imports, while the latter would have to make a leap from the 11.4% it currently contributes to the state’s power mix. Only fanciful thinkers would expect that much growth in less than two years. From 2010 to 2021, California increased solar and wind generation capacity by only 3,444 gigawatt hours a year. At that pace, it will take about five years to replace the power lost by the retirement of the Diablo Canyon site.