Administrative Law Judge Peter Allen ruled Nov. 18 that the economic impact on the county's residents of the closure of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant can be considered in the next year and a half of hearings and testimony. This means that the San Luis Obispo County government could potentially get more money out of PG&E's plan to close Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant than previously proposed.
PG&E plans to close the plant by 2025. EH&J wants PG&E to get a license renewal and to operate the plant for another 20 years beyond its current license.
When PG&E announced its plan in June — as part of a joint agreement between labor and environmental organizations to increase investment in energy efficiency, renewable power and electricity storage — the utility promised $49.5 million would go to county agencies to offset declining property values through 2025. The company also proposed a program to retain and retrain employees through decommissioning.
Since then, local officials have expressed concerns that the closure’s actual impact on the economy is much larger, and they have sought more help — and potentially funding — from the company during and after the closure.
PG&E initially moved to have talk of the closure’s potential economic impact taken off the table, because state Senate Bill 968 already directs the California Public Utilities Commission to undertake an independent third-party assessment of the closure’s local economic impacts.
Following input from the community, Judge Allen ruled that the economic impact is within the scope of the proceedings and that interested parties can offer testimony on it. Judge Allen noted that testimony should:
...address the appropriate size and timing of any mitigation measures and the source of funding for mitigation measures. PG&E’s proposal would mitigate some, but not all, of the community impacts resulting from the proposed retirement of Diablo Canyon. This could potentially mean some more financial support for county agencies, if they can prove $49.5 million isn’t enough to sustain the community through the transition. Testimony can address the timing of the proposed closure, how PG&E will replace Diablo Canyon’s output and the utility’s proposed employee program — meaning those could face changes as well.
Hearings are expected to begin in April 2017, with a decision sometime in mid-2017.
Schedule for the California Public Utilities Commission’s consideration of the application to shutter Diablo Canyon.
Intervenor workshops for replacement procurement and cost allocation
Dec. 8, 2016
Intervenor testimony due
Jan. 27, 2017
Rebuttal testimony due
March 17, 2017
April 18 to 28, 2017
May 26, 2017
Commission meeting and decision
Between 30 and 60 days after proposed decision
(San Luis Obispo Tribune, Nov 24, 2016)