Statement by the California Solar Energy Industries Association on the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant Retirement Joint Proposal

June 21, 2016 -- CALSEIA would like to first acknowledge the historic nature of this agreement that promises to shutter the last remaining nuclear power plant in California. We also applaud the call for the replacement power to come from 100% carbon-free resources. Given the state’s pre-existing carbon reduction and renewable energy laws and goals, it would have been ill conceived and difficult to do otherwise.  

The anti-nuclear movement and its embrace of solar power as a superior alternative to nuclear fission is the very foundation of California’s worldwide status as a renewable energy leader. In turn, California’s clean energy renaissance has laid the groundwork to move beyond nuclear power. So, it is only fitting to replace PG&E’s Diablo Canyon power plant with efficiency and renewable energy technologies. We should not lose sight of the fact that it was the decisions of over 100,000 Californians to go solar on their own homes and businesses, along with utility renewable procurement mandated by state law, that have eroded the case to re-license Diablo Canyon.   

Moving forward, California needs to ensure that customer-sited renewables, commonly referred to as “rooftop solar,” continue to grow and contribute to California’s clean energy future in addition to utility-procured resources. This important resource is notably missing from this agreement. PG&E’s customers are investing in solar by the tens of thousands on their rooftops, farms, businesses, and schools. It is no small oversight to ignore the contribution of customer-sited renewables which could replace Diablo Canyon by 2025 under current growth conditions. With the right tariffs in place, customer-sited solar energy will support our transition to clean energy in even more significant ways than it does today.

Further, allowing the utilities to rate base additional generation that could otherwise be built, in part, through customer investments is not necessarily in the ratepayers’ best interest. The location and quantity of new PG&E-owned generation resources should derive from a thoughtful, long-term plan to ensure the new resource procurement is justified. Consumer choice and preferences need to be front and center in these decisions.

In closing, we applaud the agreement that calls for the closure of California’s last-standing nuclear power plant. It is nothing short of historic and incredibly important for public health, safety, and the environment. We applaud all those individuals who have worked tirelessly over the decades to accomplish this feat. We look forward to making sure that all forms of renewable energy, including those resources that are built, sited and controlled by consumers, are part of California’s nuclear-free and clean energy future.