Fearing more rolling blackouts in California as green energy supplies fall short, state lawmakers have agreed to spend $1.4 billion to keep the state’s last functioning nuclear power plant running.
The extension will allow Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), operator of the San Luis Obispo plant, to continue operating until 2030. The company agreed six years ago to shutter the plant amid pressure from environmental groups and the local community.
The legislation also authorizes a forgivable loan of $1.4 billion by the state to PG&E for the plant’s extended operations.
A PG&E spokesperson told The Epoch Times the company remains committed to the state’s clean energy plans while operating the plant safely.
“PG&E is committed to California’s clean energy future,” PG&E spokeswoman Suzanne Hosn said. “We remain focused on continuing to provide reliable, low-cost, carbon-free energy to the people of California, while safely operating one of the top performing plants in the country.”
The decision to extend nuclear power resources comes as California faces a prolonged heat wave during Labor Day weekend. Newsom declared a state of emergency Aug. 31, asking residents to conserve energy.
Several environmental groups opposed the measure, including Environment California, Friends of the Earth, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Mothers for Peace, a San Luis Obispo-based anti-nuclear group, commented after the measure’s approval, vowing to continue the fight to close the plant by 2025.
Although the legislation earned overwhelming bipartisan approval in both houses of the Legislature, some lawmakers shared concerns.
The senator voiced concerns about safety, cost to taxpayers, waste disposal of spent nuclear fuel, seismic activity analysis in the area, aging cooling technology at the plant, permitting, and land conservation.
Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Redding), who is running against Newsom for governor this year, told PG&E during a Senate Oversight hearing the state is already in “crisis” mode because of the pending shutdown of the nuclear plant.
Newsom has until the end of September to approve the legislation.