The California State Legislature voted Wednesday to postpone the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, the state’s last, as an acute energy shortage forced “green” ideologues to rethink the wisdom of cutting off 6% of the state’s current power supply.
The lopsided vote came after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and even Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urged legislators to reverse course and approve a $1.4 billion loan to the Pacific Gas & Electric Company so that Diablo Canyon would not close in 2025 but in 2030.
The Los Angeles Times noted: “California’s inability to avoid rolling blackouts during 2020 heat waves prompted Newsom to reconsider closing Diablo, the state’s single largest power source. The plant generated 6% of California’s electricity last year.”
Feinstein wrote in a letter that renewable energy sources had not yet been able to make up for lost nuclear power or fossil fuels:
California has some of the most ambitious clean energy mandates in the world. However, despite massive investments and commitment, development of non-emitting renewable energy resources like wind, solar, and geothermal are not projected to be installed in time to meet California’s energy demand without power from Diablo Canyon. At this time, the alternative to the closure of the reactors at Diablo Canyon will most likely be additional natural gas generation, which would reverse progress on emissions reductions and worsen air quality. The state would be better served by a temporary extension of an existing carbon-free resource.
The final vote was lopsided, though left-wing activists grumbled about continuing nuclear power and propping up PG&E:
#BREAKING CA Assembly votes to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant online until at least 2030.
It’s an overwhelming & bipartisan 67-3 vote.
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) September 1, 2022
The vote also occurred on a day when the state faced possible electricity blackouts, and energy regulators had just declared a “Flex Alert,” urging voluntary conservation of electricity due to high demand in an ongoing late summer heat wave with no end in sight.
Nuclear power is the only source capable of producing large amounts of energy with near-zero carbon emissions. Environmentalists dislike it because of the challenges of dealing with nuclear waste and the risk, however small, of meltdowns and radiation leaks.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.