"Will Natural Gas Increase If Diablo Canyon is Closed?" Asks San Diego Union Tribune

San Diego Union-Tribune's Rob Nikolewski has written a fair-minded piece assessing whether closing Diablo Canyon will increase emissions. In it he cites the growing number of experts who say Diablo Canyon will be largely replaced by natural gas — including Environmental Progress

[A] number of critics say if history is a guide, California will become more dependent on a fossil fuel — natural gas — in order to make up for the electricity generation that will be lost when Diablo Canyon gets mothballed.

"What is absolutely outrageous is to suggest you can take Diablo Canyon offline and not increase our dependence on methane, fracked gas and not increase carbon emissions,” said Michael Shellenberger, president of Environmental Progress, a pro-nuclear environmental group based in Berkeley.


In 2011, the California Energy Commission (CEC) said 18.2 percent of the state's power generation came from nuclear energy.

But when the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station closed in January 2012, nuclear's share of in-state power generation immediately dropped to 9.3 percent.

In the same time frame, natural gas use in California jumped from45.4 percent to 61.1 percent.

Shellenberger's group estimates a Diablo shutdown will increase the share of natural gas in California's energy mix to about 70 percent.

"That’s an extremely high and dangerous level of dependence on any fuel, much less one that, when you look at 40 years of natural gas prices, is famous for having price spikes that can cause significant problems to the economy and significant energy shortages," Shellenberger said.

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