In 2021, three nuclear power plants supplied about 10% of California’s electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) monthly and annual survey data.
Diablo Canyon, California’s last operating nuclear plant, has been in the news lately over efforts to delay its planned retirement. It supplied over 8% of California’s electricity in 2021, according to EIA. The remaining nuclear electricity supply was imported from the Palo Verde Generating Station in Arizona and the Columbia Generating Station in Washington.
Because more electricity is consumed in California than produced there, about 30% of its electricity supply is imported, and 36% of its nuclear electricity supply is imported, based on data from the California Energy Commission. Most of California’s imported nuclear power comes from Arizona and the remainder from Washington.
After the San Onofre plant permanently closed in 2013, Diablo Canyon became the state’s last operating nuclear plant. Diablo Canyon has two operating pressurized water reactor units, with a combined generating capacity of 2.2 GW. The facility is California’s largest single source of electricity.
Given electric reliability concerns and extreme weather, California recently approved legislation to keep Diablo Canyon operational until 2029 and 2030, and the state is also considering the option of further extending the plant’s life through 2035. The legislation includes a $1.4 billion loan from the state’s general fund to PG&E to cover the reactor unit relicensing costs.
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