Greens Demand Renewable Capacity to Replace the 2.3GW Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant. By marya from San Luis Obispo, USAFlickr, CC BY 2.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Green are worried they are about to get duped once again into facilitating a massive increase in Californian CO2 emissions.

Diablo Canyon to Close Without Clean Energy Guarantees

The plan for closing California’s last nuclear plant slashes a proposed budget for worker retraining—and has “no explicit provision” for zero-carbon replacements.


California regulators have approved a plan to close Diablo Canyon, the state’s last nuclear power plant, that has environmental and clean energy groups, local communities, and even utility Pacific Gas & Electric crying foul over the results.

On Wednesday, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a plan for PG&E to close the Central Coast plant by 2025, and recover $241.2 million in costs to pay for it, mostly expenditures associated with paying employees to run the plant through its closure.

The proposed decision, which was roundly decried by community groups, clean energy advocates and PG&E alike, also cut a proposal for a 53 percent increase in PG&E energy efficiency programs. Those programs are expected to make up a huge portion of the resources being sought to replace Diablo Canyon.

Finally, it fails to mention a key promise of last summer’s compromise — replacing the 2.3 gigawatts of always-on power that Diablo Canyon provides the regional and statewide grid with zero-carbon resources. Since nuclear power doesn’t emit carbon, adding anything else would add to the state’s greenhouse gas burden.

But according to Ralph Cavanagh, NRDC’s energy program co-director, the order approved by the CPUC makes “no explicit provision” for this promise in its text. Instead, it relies on a statement of “intent of the Commission to avoid any increase in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the closure of Diablo Canyon,” which lacks the force of a guarantee.

Clean energy advocates were hoping that the Diablo Canyon closure plan would avoid the same outcome as Southern California’s San Onofre nuclear power plant, when it was forced to close in 2013. In that case, the CPUC did instruct Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to seek out a large portion of the replacement from zero-carbon resources, including hundreds of megawatts of distributed energy. But it also allowed both utilities to add hundreds more megawatts of natural-gas-fired power plants, angering clean energy advocates who had pushed for more zero-carbon alternatives.

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The reason nobody is providing guarantees about CO2 seems obvious; in my opinion there is likely no intention of preventing a rise in CO2 emissions. Even in California it would be impractically expensive, maybe impossible to replace 2.3GW of dispatchable zero carbon nuclear power with an equivalent installation of unreliables.

Despite the noise and bluster, I suspect Californian energy authorities are confident greens will accept the rise in CO2 emissions which occurs after the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is closed, just as they accepted a rise in CO2 emissions after the San Onofre nuclear plant was closed.


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Summer blackouts will become a weekly event.

Andy Pattullo

Our kids and grandkids just won’t know what electricity is anymore.


^reliable electricity

Carbon BIgfoot

Wait until they run out of hydropower from Pacific NW due to data mining Bitcoin and all the other crypto currencies. Great interview of the electric demand on CNBC yesterday. I’m sure you can find it if you’re really interested. I guess they’ll have to rely on a massive bird shredder project in Montana or Wyoming the current administration, Dept. of Energy, is proposing. NOT!!!


NOOOOOOOO! One more reason to hate California, not to mention the morons that were elected in Wyoming. Wyoming is California’s call girl (not the term I usually use). We do whatever that lass wants. Plow over sage grouse, kill bald eagles, destroy the prairie, as long as the lass stays happy. It’s getting harder and harder to care if that state burns to the ground.

Ron Long

2.3 GIGAWATTS is a lot of electrical energy to replace. And to replace it with green, zero-carbon providers? Here’s an idea: build a modern nuclear reactor with abundant safeguards and in as earthquake-low zone as possible. 2.3 GIGAWATTS always on-line is something demanding real replacement, not adding another zillion bird-choppers to the landscape.

Johannes Herbst

2.3 GW are needed to supercharge 5000 Tesla S in twenty minutes.
Otherwise you have to hope the wind mills will turn quicker if they are connected to superchargers.


GW? GW = 1,000mW,… MW = 1,000kW, Teslas usually have ~ 85kW batteries. Other EVs ~50kWs. A GW is an awful lot of electricity.


Sparky, 2.3 GW won’t even power 2 Deloreans

Bryan A

Daiblo Canyon produces enough electricity to provide around 5% of Californias total energy usage


Sparky, don’t confuse kW with kWh. Its a really big, yet all too common shortcoming. My little Honda generator produces 2.5 kW. Yet, if I feed it enough gasoline, it’ll produce 300 kWh (fully loaded) in a week of powering up the ol’ cabin whilst PG&E takes its sweet old time replacing the downed power lines. Big difference! GoatGuy

Ron Long

DonM, if you have a flux capacitor it will power one delorean. I saw it in a reality-based movie.

Bryan A

If you have a Flux Capacitor, it will only store the 1.21Gw of power necessary to burst the time bubble and channel it through the Time Drive. You still need a Nuclear reaction to produce the energy first hence the Plutonium and the Libyan Terrorists.




It is NOT 2.5 GW of electricity, it is 18,941 GWhs annually.

Not to be persnickety, but this is a he part of the problem – referring to power plants as there nameplate capacity, and not by how much thy actually generate.

And average onshore windmill can produce 6 million kWh annually. That is 6 Gwh. So replacing this output will take 3,156 windmills. That is around 5,000 acres. Since the power is unreliable, we will also need some pretty hefty batteries or pumped storage to make the system work.,

Roger Graves

A typical figure for a single wind turbine is 50 acres, so 3156 of them will need 157,800 acres, or approximately 246 sq. miles.

Since most of the green energy enthusiasts seem to be urban types, why not site the wind turbines in urban areas? San Francisco would be an ideal site, with 2 MW wind turbines on a quarter-mile grid throughout the city? This would surely gladden the hearts of all the warmunists to see all those wind turbines busily producing green energy.

Louis Hooffstetter

Better yet, why not require all citizens to have their body mass index (BMI) taken, and require everyone with an above average BMI to take mandatory spinning classes, where the bicycles are attached to generators?

Oprah should be able to power several average homes (or maybe even 1/3 of her mansion). It’s a win-win situation. lt would be good for the environment, good for our healthcare system, and good for the beautiful people of California.

Michael S. Kelly

Diablo’s installed capacity is 2,256 MW, and it runs at 95.84% capacity factor, or 2,162 MW.. Storing energy for windless days would require enough wind turbine capacity to provide the baseload, plus a significant percentage of the baseload for storage. Batteries are out of the question – just one hour’s backup would require nearly 10,000 tons of the most advanced Li-ion batteries. Pumped water? Okay, that’s an easy one.

The Hoover Dam’s installed generating capacity is 2,080 MW, so you’d need just a slightly bigger Hoover Dam. And don’t think that it would be smaller because it wouldn’t have to store as much water. It’s the generating capacity that counts, and that sizes the dam – and to an extent, the reservoir. An hour of production at 2,080 MW would take 250 million cubic feet of water. Keeping the hydrostatic head to within 2% of its maximum would require a reservoir area of 490 acres for every hour of backup. If you had to count on a windless week, that would be another 82,000 acres.

A straight inflation adjustment of the 1931 construction cost ($49 million) would indicate that it could be done for $4.5 billion. But you’d have to add the cost of today’s environmental hurdles. You’d also have to add the fact that Obama’s EPA head, representative of all of the obstructionist enviros, said explicitly that “there will never be another Hoover Dam.”

People should really think things through a little before they force everyone else to do something…

Paul r

The repeated stupidy never ceases to amaze me and i live in sth aust where in less than 20yrs we’ve watched a cheap reliable electricity system get turned into an ongoing train wreck.


Last week around 40,000 homes were left without power at the height of summer through load shedding. There were a variety of causes, not just insufficient generation, but that must have been very high up the list.


In NSW, I meant to say.


While in SA the Tesla battery has already twice prevented that (the main use for grid scale batteries is to avoid blackouts from sudden loss of input to the grid)

Johannes Herbst

Sudden, Griff, as you mentioned.

Think about minutes.


Fortunately SA bought a number of gas turbines as well, so they have something to fire up while the battery empties.

Johannes Herbst,

Simple sums (beyond Griff) show that the battery will support the SA grid for six (6) minutes.

Obviously all of the generating capacity will not go down at the same time but if, say, 10% does then battery can cope for 60 minutes.

What I think it is being used for is to cater for the unreliability of the renewables. When they stop producing (or drop back significantly) the battery powers things for teh few minutes that it takes to start a gas powered generator.

So Griff may be right that the battery has been used twice already. However that will be to deal with problems solely caused by the use of renewables.


At huge additional cost, batteries are partially able to prevent some of the problems caused by renewable energy.
What was already uneconomical becomes even more so.


Griff, take of the blinders for 30 seconds …. Are you ready … are they off?


O.K., put ’em back on and enjoy the rest of your day.

Dear Griff:

I’ve often wondered why you keep bringing this type of thing to these discussions. You must be reading at least a little bit of some of the more credible articles posted here. And your responses show that you do read at least some of the posts responding to you, which expose the flaws in your facts and/or reasoning. Therefore, in contrast to most of the zealots in the climate catastrophe cult, you have to be aware that many of arguments for CAGW are seriously flawed.

Nevertheless you do not even move toward the more middle-of-the-road “lukewarmer” position. Instead you keep posting here in futile attempts to promote the extremist global warming narrative.

Is it because you’re so committed to the ideology that you can’t see its weaknesses, which are so often exposed here? Or do you really know that the narrative is wrong, but you have some other motivation to keep putting all that effort into flogging this dying horse?

Inquiring minds want to know.


Unless you are a headline from a website with ‘green’ in the name, Griff won’t read or understand it. There are all sorts of news stories with the headline claiming what Griff just said, but if you bother to look into the body of the story…

That’s not to say that the Tesla battery prevented a blackout — at least, not in this particular case, as the coal-powered backup did kick in as it should have.

Typical driveby headlines meant for the simple Griffs of the world.

John in Oz

Griff, if we had generators whose power output did not go up and down like a bride’s nightgown then we would not need the battery and could have spent the money on some real pollution problems.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7


I have two 3KVA UPS systems in my basement to power network and server gear. They have prevented all my stuff from crashing dozens of times when we get brief power interruptions (typical line fault with auto-reset outage is 2-4 seconds). But if the power stays out I only have enough capacity for less than 20 minutes. If I shut down everything but the network gear I can last for about an hour.

By themselves the UPS units ride out brief outages. If I had a backup gas generator they would provide plenty of time for it to fire up and take over.

Most people born in the US have no idea what it is like to live without reliable power. I remember when I took my first trip into Mexico in the mid 60s I was surprised to find the TV plugged into a large box on the floor. I was told it was a voltage regulator to protect the TV from damage when there were surges or brownouts on the line. So to have a TV in Mexico at the time meant the additional expense of voltage regulator to protect it from the unstable grid. The people in Mexico just seemed to accept it. I wondered at the time why they didn’t just fix their power grid.

No available or on the near horizon battery technology will provide true grid-scale backup for anything more than brief disruptions. What we’d have to do instead is put batteries in every house (Tesla PowerWall) and bigger batteries plus backup generators in every business. Like the voltage regulators of Mexico in the 60s, the cost of all this should be accounted for the same as a rate increase on electricity — it’s effectively mandatory consumer premise equipment. But we only need it if grid power is unreliable.

I ask the same question today that I did 50 years ago in Mexico: why don’t they just make the grid provide reliable power?

old white guy

and CO2 has nothing to do with it AGW is a lie, was is and will continue to be .

Charlie B.

Are you familiar with Jerry Browns family interests in oil and gas? it explains a lot of his decisions over the years, including the anti nuclear ones….


It’s the typical rich tyrant—he is rich, he got that way through oil and gas, etc, so now shut those down so everyone else remains poor and he’s a God. It’s a means of destroying wealth to keep those with money in power. It’s evil and wrong, but humans are not known for being saints.


Using the Australian example, the Diablo Canyon reactor will be replaced diesel and gas generators, powered by Brown’s oil and gas. As our coal plants have been closed, they have been replaced by diesel, as the giant wind farms are not reliable and are unable to generate continuously. We are going to need some huge batteries to help compensate for the loss of coal for when the power fluctuates.


It would be nice if Cal found some money to maintain infrastructure instead of waiting ’till it breaks as in the Oroville Dam near disaster. That was simple neglect.

Ed Zuiderwijk

Alternatively, California can increasingly rely on imported electricity from other states burning coal. Or from neighbouring Mexico.


The cooling water exhaust race is clear in the accompanying pic.
I luv google earth and zoomed in on it there but couldn’t find either fresh or salt water intake. Where is it?
But it looks a well cited plant, any good engineer could design a “safe” plant there. Why do they want to close it, the CO2 during construction has been spent, no refund.


Intake is in the cove on the right under that wall
comment image


Reason for closure seems to be some “cooling water” issues.

Bed time here, I’m sure someone can do some searching, and explain the reason.

But it is California, so you can almost bet the reason will be some flimsy fabricated “feel-good” anti-science one


Well, yeah, it’s warming up Diable Cove to dangerous temperatures. /sarc


What will they use to power the desal plant ?

Or are they closing that as well.

michael hart

I would guess that desalination is one of the few uses where ‘unreliables’ could actually be used effectively because you can store desalinated water in a reservoir from when the power is available.
Of course they don’t like dams and reservoirs in California either…


Does it damage a desalination plant to cycle power like that?


it could be a work around.

just less efficient.


membranes require constant pressure. unavailable from unreliables.

Steven F

Hom RO system automatically shut off when the small 3 gallon storage tank fills up. So they cycle on and off once a day. Furthermore is an electric valve is attached to the each of the 3 pipes attached to the RO filter the flow of water in or out of the membrane would stop when the power turns off and the pressure would not drop.

So an RO desalination unit can work from intermittent power without any damage from the sudden loss of power.


“demand” indeed.
Why don’t they just form a company that will provide the renewable they long for, as an exclusive provider of the power they need, and stop bullying people that want proven fossil/nuclear power?
That’s just dictators thinking, literally.


I wonder where they are going to put the roughly 1400 new 5MW windmills that would be required to replace Diablo Canyon…


Intermittent sources can never replace baseload sources without duplicating the renewable capacity with dispatchable sources such as gas or fuel oil fired turbines.
The costs will by necessity of duplication more than double for the electricity consumers.

In Germany under EnergieWind, electricity cost per KWh is more than 4 times the US and double the cost in next door nuclear-friendly France. The predictable result is Germany’s lucrative automobile manufacturing base is slowly migrating out of Germany.


only 1.5 – 2.0x for California,.. but we’re catching up. Summer PGE bill was 39c/kWh peak, 30c off-peak. Germany was, what, about 60c/kWh?


Australian Government Minister recently wrote that the Australian target is to limit electricity costs to 100c/kWh.
This is your green renewable future. The numbers of households being cut off the grid is soaring. The Green solution is, wait for it, build more wind turbines and batteries.

Richard G

In Southern California we pay $0.18 kwh for Tier 1 baseline from SCE and that includes all taxes/fees. That cost is a 40% increase from 10 years ago. Each of the 10 year periods before the most recent the increases were less than 10%.

Steven F

California does not have a good wind resource on land. Off shore in deep water they do. Currently large scale solar PV plants are favored for renewables. California has an excellent solar resource. Also there is sufficient geothermal resource for more than 2GW of geothermal power which is 24/7 power.

Richard G

California ISO reports Geothermal supply at just under 1 GW 24/7. It varies between 850 to 980 MW daily. It is currently at 872 MW.


Death by dogma is proving to be a really messy way to go.


Wyoming, California’s favorite professional lady. The billionaire zcar of Colorado is destroying the historic ranch he owns (who needs history when millions can be made of stupid people?) ranch he bought and will try and put up 1000 there. He HATES Wyoming, he hates humanity but he loves money.


Probably out of state.

Alan Robertson

“Since nuclear power doesn’t emit carbon, adding anything else would add to the state’s greenhouse gas burden.”
Could it be that the Commission isn’t basing their decision on “carbon- free” virtue signalling?


Natural gas replacement power generation within California is likely a non-starter issue to to a lack of planned pipelines needed to bring in the gas and local resistance to more drilling. And also in-state nat gas supply storage is being kneecapped by growing local resistance to the current underground storage of natural gas in fault and earthquake prone areas, as is most of California.

The obvious result of the Diablo Canyon shut down will be California bringing in more electricity from out of state where the regulatory process to build new plants is less onerous. It also means Cal’s electricity costs will rise as the grid will need to be built out to import this power. The alternative is are brownouts and rolling blackouts during the summer months. Oh that and “an arm and 2 legs” is what it will cost Tesla/EV owners to charge their cars at night under peak demand metering rates coming into place.

In the long-term California becomes more and more business and manufacturing unfriendly as the Greens destroy the state’s economic competitiveness. Remember, Elon Musk’s battery plant was competed out to states around Cal, but Cal was not ever in the running for the battery plant. That is happening all across California’s businesses as they relocate and expand elsewhere.


In the past companies would keep the headquarters in state but move everything else out. It’s happening in New York and other high cost states as well.
With Trump’s limits on state tax deductions, even keeping the headquarters in-state is becoming more difficult.

Steven F

Most of California’s power today comes from natural gas. Large pipelines to bring in the gas already exist and with renewables now providing about 30% of the states power natural gas demand is down.

Richard G

EIA only shows net generation for California 2017 thru October, so not full year yet. It shows renewables at 26.7% (up 9.5%) and NG at 41.4% (down 10.8%). It also shows Hydro at 22.1% (up 56.3%) and Nuclear at 8.3% (down 6.4%). Those sources are 98.5% of net generation in California.


A critical part of the terminal dogma is that governments are the source of prosperity. Even Moonbeam seems to buy into that dogmatic belief when he’s sitting there on top of a state budget that is saying “Nevermore.” And he says the courts “must” allow the evisceration of the state employees’ pension plans because fulfilling the obligations that were made through the decades is just not fiscally possible. .

Coach Springer

“…maybe impossible to replace 2.3GW of dispatchable zero carbon nuclear power with an equivalent installation of unreliables. .”

As stated, it is doubly impossible. You could install hundreds of GW of turbines and not replace 2.3 GW when the wind stops blowing and again when it blows too hard. But equivalent installation? Absolutely not. But spend an enormous amount anyway. Even a mere 2.3 GW of wind capacity is mind numbingly large*.

*Illinois is the fifth largest capacity state at total capacity of 4.03 GW ( Actual production on 4 GW capacity at the industry accepted rate of 30% would be only 1.21 GW. So, double the entire capacity of Illinois to “replace”?


According to:

It takes over 2000 wind turbines for that 4.03GW of capacity…


When the wind is blowing.


There’s that coincidental 1.21 jigawatt again … Great Scott.


They could try the Australian solution. Batteries. Should have seen the grin on Elon Musk’s face when he sold his batteries here. All it takes is money, more money, and very high electricity charges.

Its the salami slice theory: Nobody notices a single small slice; the problem is when the slices start to add up. The insanity of renewables in a nutshell.

Richard G

The EIA shows net generation from Wind power in Illinois at 1.23 GW in 2017 thru October, so that 1.21 gigawatts is pretty close. The same period in 2016 it was 1.14 GW.


Change one rule … Guess which one? Just change the stupid rule that doesn’t count hydro electric as renewable. There fixed it for them 🙂
No charge for my consultation.


In Oregon specific hydro can be included in specific circumstances.

My pessimistic interpretation is that once an owner spends enough upgrade money during the permit renewal process, the subsequent electricity that is produced deemed renewable (and there will be no (rational) need to renew of the wind contracts for utilities that utilize hydro).

California is likely the same … give a few decades.

Steven F

Large Hydro (most of which was built before 1950) is not included in the renewable portfolio standard. The state government wanted to encourage new renewable construction instead of just buying more hydro. There is no rule preventing the purchase of more hydro power. It just doesn’t legally count as renewable. So while the state currently gets almost 30% of its power from renewables. The stat also gets about 7% of of its power form large hydro and additional hydro is routinely imported from other states when it is available.

Currently california only gets a small amount of power from coal and nuclear. Most of the coal power imports are from long term contract that will expire soon. Diablo canyon is california’s last nuclear power plant and it only produces a little bit more power than large Hydro does. The remainder is mostly natural gas power.

Walter Sobchak

Give the people what they want. When electricity prices hit $.40/KWh in California, we can mock them.


We haven’t been mocking them already?

Mike Smith

Start mocking. If you use too much power, you pay Tier 3 rates of $0.40/kWh today!

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Mike Smith:
I seem to recall when Anthony installed solar panels on his roof in Chico he listed peak rates as high as $0.90/kWh, but I don’t see that in the link you posted.

Georgia Power residential rates for “Standard Service”:

$0.097273/kWh for summer (June – September) after 1,000 kWh. Rate for 1st 650 kWh is $0.056582 all year round.

Sadly, these will go up to absorb the overrun costs for Plant Vogtle reactors 3 and 4. Starting in 2021, residential rates will go up by 8 to 10 percent , assuming the overruns don’t have more overruns.

Give Californians what they want. And give it to them hard and fast.


Desert Center, Calif., near Joshua Tree National Park, generates 550 MWatts and covers 3,800 acres. That means they would need at least 4 facilities the size of Desert center operating at full capacity covering ~16,000 acres – If/when they were producing full power.
However, typical number indicate less than 30% capacity factor so we actually need three times as many, or 12 facilities covering 45,600 Acres. Will be a pleasant thing to look at one of these facilities the next time you visit one of the National/State Parks.
Then for night time power they would need 2,300 megawatt Wind turbines (allowing for 20% capacity factor,) That works out to a New 500 foot tall Wind Turbine about every 3 miles along Interstate 5 from border to border. Perhaps these too will become a tourist attraction.

F. Leghorn

Just call them “wind forests” and slightly change the PSA’s for “visiting the forests”.

Plus no more need for commercials about “Smokey Bear”.


Replace nuclear baseload with wind/solar baseload? What’s the problem with that?


“Solar baseload” is so self contradictory. I understand the /sarc.

But Even in the mid-latitudes mid-summer, 14 hrs of daylight means about 10 hrs of useful electricity production. In the winter, it’s about 6 hours of every 24.
And those also mean a near-cloudless day.

The Climagesterium are trying to forbid the use of the word “baseload”, hoping that this will make the problem go away.


Me: 2.3 GWs? Using renewables, how much land is that going to consume? And what happens when the wind stops blowing, or a cloud moves over the sun? How much backup do the renewables need?

Eco-nut: Stop asking so many questions!!!!!!

Bryan A

Using Solar panels 7 largest Ca farms
Mojave Solar … 280MW … 5 sq mi
Antelope Vly … 266MW … 4.5 sq mi
California Vly … 250MW … 5 sq mi
Blythe Mesa … 485MW … 9 sq mi
Solar Star … 579MW … 13 sq km
Mount Signal … 266MW … 15 sq mi
Topaz Solar … 550MW … 12 sq mi
TOTAL Capacity — 2676MW — Area — 63 sq mi
producing power 8 hours per day average
To recharge nighttime batteries and allow for 24 hour usage — 190 sq miles of solar panels to replace Diablo Canyon’s 12 acres of nuclear

J Mac

Thanks for the info Bryan A!

Bryan A

This would be roughly an area from Los Osos south to HWY 166, coastal down to Pismo Beach then a 5 mile wide swath of the mountains south east from Arroyo Grande to Santa Maria


It is interesting that land usage is never a problem with wind and solar, but that 12 acres for Diablo Canyon was probably decried as damaging to the environment and wildlife and fought all the way. It’s okay to kill wildlife and destroy terrain as long as you do it for a noble reason. These people are, of course, insane.


Also ignored by many is “How large is the battery storage? How much power is lost in charging/discharging and cooling the Chargers and the Inverters needed for conversion back to AC? How long will the batteries last? My first job was refurbishing large, lead acid storage batteries used for the communication systems on a railroad. Ten percent of the batteries were replaced each year. And that was with weekly, monthly and quarterly maintenance activities to extend and prolong their life. Today we live in a world of “It is cheaper to use it till it dies and replace rather than waste money on preventive maintenance.”

J Mac

Nuclear energy is reliable, renewable energy.

The issue is worse than merely a price increase for electricity. The energy consumed to design, manufacture, install, maintain and administer renewables exceeds the energy they produce in their lifetime.

Without the energy provided by other sources renewables could not exist.


“Without the energy provided by other sources renewables could not exist.”

Nor could the money exist that’s needed to provide financial subsidies for so-called renewables. Unless, of course, you consider the fiat magic currency that The Federal Reserve magically conjures out of their magic hole in the air as being “renewable money?”

Doesn’t there have to be a functioning mind available as a pre-requisite for insanity? Just wondering.


One of Grist’s climate bedwetters just did a piece saying that nuclear is the only thing that will save the world. Remarkable.


It’s really astonishing to read some of the comments on Holthaus’ twitter tweets regarding his nuclear piece, to realize how extraordinarily stupid those people are. Check this one out:

Richard G

Jon Reynolds doesn’t seem to have studied civilization during previous millennia. You can even look at civilization today and see the countries that have lower kwh per capita have higher death rates from crime, vigilante justice, ethnic cleansing and religious persecution.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Wow; this is a brilliant insight that never occurred to me before. And it started me thinking: what else do we seem to think is so essential that human civilizations have previously survived without. I came up with a quick list:

* Steel
* Aluminum
* Iron
* Glass
* Antibiotics
* Analgesics (pain relief)
* Chlorinated public water
* Public waste treatment

I had no idea all this stuff was so unnecessary, but clearly civilizations have existed without any of it.

My eyes have been opened.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Actually, there is a vital insight buried in Jon Reynolds comment; one he certainly doesn’t recognize. What we call “civilizations” attain that status precisely because they rise above the “natural state” of humans. Civilizations organize their members to modify their physical environment to make it better for humans. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans didn’t have steel, but they would have used if if they did, and would have developed it if they could.

Human populations who never aspired or succeeded in rising above the limitations of their natural state vanished without leaving any trace, and therefore don’t make it on the list of previous civilizations which managed to survive without electricity.


Good luck with those electricity-free smartphones…

Caligula Jones

…its almost as if they don’t know how to do math.

Or, as I’ve been reading, math is racist (or sexist, hard to keep track).


SLAVERY, as an accepted “civilized” institution, (to the extent and where it has actually ended) gradually faded away as the use of fossil fuels and then nuclear increased. The return of institutionalized slavery may not be imminent today, but it’s return would be made inevitable if the Green Monster has their way and enough of the energy goofiness that is in the works came to pass.


Maths is white supremacist actually…


If the state of California is really concerned about CO2 emissions they should already be building 5 new nuclear plants as part of their effort to reduce CO2 emmissions with a high speed rail system. 5 new nuclear plants will do a lot more to lower CO2 emissions than a high speed rail system between Bakersfield and Fresno. Even after the high speed rail system is in place, most people having to travel between the two cities for business reasons will find it more convenient to use their cars instead.

Bryan A

Well, you do have to get from the rail station to your ultimate destination and back again.


That is people are more likely to take their cars then ride the high speed rail system between Bakersfield and Fresno, neither of which are along the fastest overland route between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The high speed rail systtem is rally a relatively show high speed rail system using a very inefficient route,

Rich Wright

After the San Onofre nuclear power plant was closed, in Southern California, the state PUC approved a new Carlsbad Energy Center that cost $2.2 billion for a 558 mega-watt combined cycle natural gas power plant. This plant, currently under construction, will provide efficient, reliable electricity to partially replace the power from the closed nuclear plant.

Combined cycle natural gas plants are more efficient, and more reliable, than so-called “renewable” energy sources such as wind farms and solar farms. The state PUC should approve these efficient and reliable power plants.

The Carlsbad Energy Center itself is also located next door to the 2015-built, $1.0 billion Carlsbad seawater desalinization plant. If the state approves new combined cycle natural gas power plants in central coastal areas to partially replace the power from the closed nuclear Diablo Canyon power plant, it should seriously consider also allowing for adjacent seawater desalinization plants, which can provide a reliable source of additional, though relatively expensive, fresh water for California’s large population.

Retired Kit P

“Currently california only gets a small amount of power from coal and nuclear.”

Dual unit nuclear stations produce huge amounts of power. The only thing that I can think of that produces more power is a three unit nuclear plant. These steam electric stations are often a state’s larges source of power.

These physical assets are located where they are for a reason.

Abstract things like ‘contracts’ are part of the some and mirror debate. California imports 1/3rd of its power. When a coal contract expires, the coal plant does produce less power it just sells it to some other power distributor.

When the nuke plant I worked on in California closed I moved to another state to work at a different nuke plant. I would have been happy to stay in California and work on renewable energy but nuke plants are not replaced by wind and solar.

Retired Kit P

“Most people born in the US have no idea what it is like to live without reliable power.”

Unless you live in California Alan.

PG&E was the most unreliable when I lived in the foothills. Spain was the second worst. It is my theory that when it gets very cold, utilities have to be very good.

If a power outage interfered with surfing, California might be better.