Western Caucus Vice Chair Doug LaMalfa, and Congressmen Ken Calvert and David Valadao led a Congressional Western Caucus National Clean Energy Week Forum titled, “The Golden State of Nuclear Power: The Importance of Diablo Canyon & Nuclear Energy in California’s Grid.” The forum featured experts from PG&E, Environmental Progress and the American Conservation Coalition who discussed the critical role Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and nuclear energy play in California’s energy grid.
“When we look at the need for baseload power from sources like nuclear, hydro and biomass, these are the kinds of power generation that are reliable and going to keep the lights on for us,” said LaMalfa.“Our friends in Germany are learning the lesson of reliability very vividly as they depend on a source of power – Russian natural gas – that can be turned off while at the same time they shut down domestic nuclear plants. California, like Germany has taken a path that reduced reliability, increased costs to consumers and ultimately places their entire electric grid in danger because they lack the baseload power to keep the lights on when there is large demands. Nuclear power is clean, safe and reliable power that America needs. I am happy to see the extension of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and it is crucial we add another extension to its full useful life, which is at least another 20 years. Diablo Canyon is an important cornerstone in California’s energy grid, and I’m glad the Western Caucus could hold this timely forum during National Clean Energy Week.”
“Unreliable power during extreme heat is unfortunately becoming the new normal in California,” said Calvert. “We cannot control the temperature, but we can implement policies that promote a secure and reliable electric grid. California’s leadership has consistently shown its preference for decreased reliability and increased costs to its citizens. I’m leading the Clean Energy Protection Act to push the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to explore federal avenues to secure this carbon-free source of baseload power for California residents. Fortunately, the fever broke briefly in Sacramento and the state legislature has acted to keep Diablo Canyon open for at least 5 more years. While I appreciate this overdue action, this is a crisis we made. I believe it highlights what’s at stake when politicians – not energy markets – decide how to power American homes. I look forward to working with Chairman Newhouse, my California colleagues, and the Western Caucus to ensure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly and am grateful for the opportunity to discuss these issues during this National Clean Energy Week forum.”
“Diablo Canyon produces the cheapest clean, reliable power in the Golden State,” said Valadao. “At a time when energy costs are skyrocketing for Central Valley families, we need to increase our supply of safe, clean energy to provide power for our electrical grid. I have supported legislation during my time in Congress to stop the closure of Diablo Canyon – our state’s last remaining operational nuclear power plant – and am glad the legislature passed an extension. But it’s critical we continue to champion clean energy sources like nuclear power and ensure Diablo Canyon remains a key component in our state’s energy portfolio. I’m glad the Western Caucus is highlighting this important issue during National Clean Energy Week.”
Diablo Canyon, operated by PG&E, is the only nuclear power plant in California and the state’s single largest single source of electricity. Anti-nuclear advocates have pushed for the plant to close, and the plant was slated to close by 2025. As Californians face energy shortages due to a reliance on intermittent resources, Western Caucus Members have strongly advocated for safe, carbon-free, baseload nuclear power generation as a critical component of the state’s energy grid. Earlier this month, the California State Legislature voted to keep Diablo Canyon open.
The members heard from three participants during the forum who highlighted the role Diablo Canyon plays in keeping the lights on for California’s homes and businesses, safety measures taken to ensure responsible nuclear energy generation, and the importance of nuclear power in America’s clean energy future: Maureen Zawalick, Vice President of Decommissioning and Technical Services, PG&E; Michael Schellenberger, Founder and President, Environmental Progress; and Chris Barnard, Policy Director, American Conservation Coalition.