SLO County to participate in state proceedings on Diablo Canyon closure

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near Avila Beach.
Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near Avila Beach. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

San Luis Obispo County will have an official seat at the table when the California Public Utilities Commission considers the future of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant as owner PG&E moves toward closing the plant in 2025.

The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in closed session Tuesday to become an intervenor in all of PG&E’s filings with the Public Utilities Commission regarding Diablo Canyon.

Because the county is a real party in interest in the agency’s proceedings regarding Diablo Canyon, its application cannot be denied, county counsel Rita Neal said. An interested party is an entity that will be substantially impacted by the proceedings.

With intervenor status, the county will have the right to participate in any of proceedings with the agency, beginning with PG&E’s 2017 general rate case and all applications affecting Diablo Canyon, including the nuclear power plant closure when its operating licenses end in 2025 and the subsequent decommissioning of the plant, Neal said.

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant will be shut down in 2025 after its operating licenses expire.

A general rate case is an application PG&E makes with the agency to recover its operating costs from ratepayers. On Sept. 1, 2015, PG&E submitted a general rate case application for 2017 to 2019.

In June, PG&E announced a joint agreement with labor unions and environmental groups to not seek license renewal for the Diablo Canyon and shut the plant down in 2025. PG&E expects to file the closure agreement with the CPUC by the end of the month, said Blair Jones, PG&E spokesman.

San Luis Obispo County is substantially impacted by PG&E’s plans for Diablo Canyon because it receives about $8 million in property taxes from the utility, which is between 1 and 2 percent of the county’s budget.

The county and San Luis Coastal Unified School District have complained that they were not party to the closure agreement.

The school district will be hard hit by the plant’s closure because it gets about $10 million annually in property taxes from the plant.

California’s policy of getting half of its electrical power by 2030 from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, was cited as the main reason for the decision not to renew the plant’s operating licenses.

Take a closer look at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near Avila Beach. California's last operating nuclear power plant will close in 2025, owner Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has announced.