The upcoming retirement of Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuclear power plant, is a major milestone.
State law requires the replacement of Diablo Canyon without increasing global warming emissions; however, to date, no action has been taken specifically to replace the zero-emissions energy from the power plant. Using grid modeling tools to analyze California’s electricity sector emissions, the Union of Concerned Scientists found that, without further action, cumulative global warming and air pollution emissions will be significantly higher over the next decade due to the retirement and replacement of Diablo Canyon primarily with energy from existing natural gas power plants.
To prevent an increase in emissions, the Union of Concerned Scientists recommends that California regulators and electricity providers pursue more ambitious electricity sector emissions reduction goals, which would both accelerate the deployment of renewables and energy storage and address the anticipated increase in cumulative emissions from the retirement of Diablo Canyon.
Specht, Mark. 2021. "Countdown to Shutdown: California’s Clean Energy Future after Diablo Canyon Closes." Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists. https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/countdown-shutdown.