Keep EBCE Nuke-Free--Close Diablo Canyon now!

The Board of Directors at East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), our public electrical service agency, is considering adding nuclear energy to our resource mix. At their meeting on December 18, 2019, over 20 community members from at least 10 different organizations, with almost no notice, came to the meeting to express strong opposition to including nuclear in EBCE’s mix and shock that a proposal was even being considered.
PG&E has proposed making allocations of carbon-free energy, 70% nuclear from their Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant and 30% large hydro to EBCE and other Community Choice programs in PG&E territory. The proposal is tied to the PCIA fee that all Community Choice customers pay to PG&E once they leave that utility. 
According to EBCE staff the allocation would only be for whatever remains of 2020 when, and if the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)  approves the proposal. It would save EBCE the money it otherwise would have spent on carbon-free sources of energy, but the amount saved will decrease depending on how long it takes the CPUC to act. 
The money EBCE might save avoiding carbon free energy purchase is trivial compared to what could be saved by closing Diablo Canyon early, as proposed in a motion by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility currently before the CPUC. Diablo Canyon is costing PG&E over $1 billion each year to keep it open, a billion dollars that both PG&E and Community Choice customers pay. And the cost is really secondary to the great risks posed by the plant from earthquakes and other catastrophes, which are the main reason for its scheduled closure in 2025. 
Meanwhile, if EBCE accepts the nuclear portion, we would be the only Community Choice program in California with nuclear on our Power Content Label. Many of the speakers at the December meeting and some Board members expressed the fact that the vast majority of everyone involved in the creation of EBCE assumed that nuclear would never be part of the agency’s resource mix. 
Though staff has said this is a one time only allocation, there is the chance that it might be used as a model for the final resolution to the PCIA, which is expected to be decided by the end of 2020. If Community Choice programs do decide to accept the nuclear portion of the allotment, that could well be used as an argument to keep Diablo Canyon open.
EBCE’s Board will be considering, and perhaps voting on whether to accept the allotment of nuclear energy in its next meeting, February 19, 2020. Watch for LCEA alerts and actions to take to help us Keep EBCE Nuc-Free and Close Diablo Canyon Down!  
(image credit: Phil Klein, Santa Maria Times)