by John Gordon
Over the weekend, an organization with a history of being on the receiving end of the Soros money network, began running an ad demanding that the San Onofre power plant be permanently shuttered. From listening to the 30-second spot, one might come to the conclusion that San Onofre is run by a proverbial Mr. Burns, whose drive for profit will inevitably create a Fukushima-like disaster in Southern California.
Although it’s nice to think that the California economy can be powered by some combination of sunshine, cool breezes, algae, and pixie dust, the reality is that California’s two nuclear facilities (San Onofre and Diablo Canyon) are critical, reliable components to the stability and reliability of California’s already fragile electric grid. Combined, they supply 7% of the electricity California consumes (with out-of-state imports, roughly 16% of CA power comes from nuclear), and employ enough people to place California’s nuclear industry among the nation’s top ten.
Should the San Onofre plant be permanently closed, it would have widespread effects on the state including a $3.3 billion dollar hit to its already sluggish economy, skyrocketing energy prices, the loss of more than 9,000 jobs, greater vulnerability to the inherent unreliability of renewables and volatility of fossil-fuel prices, greater strain on the power grid, and possible rolling blackouts during peak-usage seasons.
And let’s not ignore the fact that any power loss to the San Diego region would have to be filled with additional power from the East. This is particularly critical because the power needed to offset a permanent closure of San Onofre would have to travel over the same high-voltage lines that – thanks to CPUC and CAISO’s penchant for preventing utilities from upgrading transmission capacity to meet customer demand (see Sunrise Powerlink) – caused the 2007 Witch Fire and shut down during the 2011 Southwest Power Outage.
A recent Washington Post piece noted that in some cases, low electrical costs in the U.S. were enough to keep manufacturing on our shores. With a combination of nuclear, renewables, fossil fuel, smart-grid technology, and strategic infrastructure upgrades, this is a possibility for California. The other option is for the California grid to continue being a safety hazard, and for electricity prices to be yet another factor driving business from the state. We know where the environmentalists stand.
John Gordon is a Public Affairs consultant with ProActive Communications, former staff member for the SDGOP, and USCD alum who specializes in infrastructure planning, reliability, safety, efficiency, and regulation for the energy industry and the nuclear sector.
California residential electricity costs an average of 32.4% more than the national average (far higher in San Diego County). For industrial use, CA electricity is 70.8% higher than the national average (May, 2011).
Mr. Rider, I have been after you to look into the Public Purpose Program (social justice for our electricity bills) the way only YOU can do to expose this horrible program.
And Mr. Gordon, when all of these people (idealistic enviro wackos) who ride their bike to work and stop using hot water, blow dryers, etc..etc.. then we wont need the power plants, because those of us who actually use the electricity/power can have it, until they practice what they preach, sprinkle a special pixie dust on them that gives them a taste of reality.
Good point Richard. But those stats don’t tell the whole story because they only cover rates, not all the fees and payments that compose the other dozen or so line items on a CA electric bill and make what Californians actually pay even further above the national average – these are all mandated or permitted by the CPUC – and due to some recent CPUC decisions, will be rising further.
Additionally, the AP did a story yesterday on how CA is scrambling to find enough power for peak summer usage season to offset the possible loss of San Onofre (http://www.startribune.com/nation/146122945.html). It also came to my attention this week that current wholesale prices for electricity to be delivered this coming summer are up in CA from last summer – they’re down everywhere else, save Texas.
Mr. Soros also backed the demise of Former Congressman Cunningham. One could also assert he brought home a Pulizer to the UT.
Mr. Soros may fund any investigative endeavers he may choose. As too many local officials are in bed with power conglomerates, but being still on the local yokel pay grade.
Sort of like how the BIA has been a lifeblood for San Diego politics. At the initiation level. Politics in San Diego has been so low key. We elect ignorant people. San Onfre is a clear and present danger. So Cal Edison has ownership of too many political hacks. But then so do strip clubs and publications like the one the Platinum group sold to New Majority Man Manchester.
Energy at all levels is power and corruption. Water now ranks high on that list. Sad part is the alternatives have the potential to close down Nuclear energy for good. Living in the San Diego region is simply paradise for Geo Thermal,Solar, and Ocean desalinization.
Rider does not have the investigative bravado to attack the Corruption in the Black Hole of Energy Corruption. This corruption taints the entry level politic at the city level,often before they become a candidate. And the non tainted we get are the likes of Dick Murphy,Donna Fry, and Scott Peters.
Mr. Gordon could not be more spot on about the need for more clean energy in San Diego. As a resident of San Diego, I value our desire to explore clean renewable energy like the Sunrise Powerlink but I also think that Nuclear energy is the largest and most productive source for clean energy we have today.
There are many new technologies and procedures that have been developed to reprocess nuclear “waste” for re-use instead of just dumping it. Countries like France are far beyond us in these procedures and can teach us a lot about how to be more energy efficient.
The San Onofre plant is vital to the region and, as we saw during the blackout last year, we are poorly equipped to compensate should our power go down here. We need plants like San Onofre to keep us on line especially when some of my environmental friends attack projects like Sunrise and other alternatives.
To Ms. Right’s comment, I am proud of San Diego’s desire to cut back, use less water in our homes and our yards, and use fewer fossil fuels but I don’t see our need for electricity decreasing anytime soon and nuclear energy can play a vital role in San Diego’s energy future. We must remember to keep all options in mind including nuclear energy to think about clean and renewable energy.