I recently came across a published letter to you from a member of our community demanding that our nearby Diablo Canyon nuclear plant be immediately shut down because that person is afraid of nuclear waste ("Dear Gov. Newsom," April 23). Apparently that person is unaware or does not care that shutting the plant down early will result in a loss of a couple of hundred million dollars in local property and sales tax revenue, about $5 billion in indirect economic benefits including the loss of some 1,500 high-paying jobs, forcing more than a thousand of our neighbors and their families to leave the community that they have lived and worked in for decades—all because he and other ill-informed citizens have an irrational fear of nuclear power that has long been nurtured by oil and gas interests. What makes this request particularly absurd is the fact that when Diablo Canyon is closed down, we know that the accumulated waste is going nowhere. Thanks to bipartisan political maneuvering at the state and federal level, financed by lobbyists from competing interests that benefit greatly from the damnation of nuclear power, there is no place for it to go.
The writer of the letter is apparently also unaware that the inability of renewable production in California to ever be expanded enough to meet state-mandated levels is finally coming to light. Of the 34 percent renewable contribution to power production currently claimed by your energy commission, a third was from out of state last year. People are becoming aware that wind and solar require an enormous amount of dispatchable energy, mostly natural gas, to be expended as backup to ensure grid reliability, so wind and solar are accountable for those emissions. Furthermore in-state renewable production is maxed out. Last year curtailment (overproduction) of wind and solar was more than double the year before, and this year it is on track to nearly double again, which means that further expansion of in-state wind and solar capacity will be a waste of resources, and also makes it clear that continuing subsidies for renewables will be a complete waste of taxpayer money.
Finally, to even think of expediting the closure of Diablo Canyon, at a time when our community is already facing severe social and economic impacts for years to come as a result of the ongoing pandemic, is beyond callous. In fact, considering the looming long-term economic impacts to our community and the state, the decision to allow the closing at all needs to be seriously reconsidered. It is in everyone's best interest that the current renewable portfolio be re-examined and that valuable non-emitting resources such as large hydro and nuclear power be added to the portfolio, and destructive carbon-emitting renewables such as biomass and biofuels be expelled. In conclusion, I would like to add that I think you and others are doing a great job handling this pandemic situation. Thank you for looking out for us.
San Luis Obispo