On the heels of Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E) announcement that it plans to close Diablo Canyon Power Plant by 2025, County officials anticipate substantial future community impacts.
“The closure of Diablo Canyon Power Plant will have a significant impact on our local economy,” said County Board Chair and District 4 Supervisor Lynn Compton. “The head-of-household jobs the plant provides will be difficult to replace. In District 4 alone, this closure will affect more than 400 head-of-household jobs. We appreciate that PG&E has chosen to allow nine years for this transition, provided that the State Lands Commission extends the plant’s water lease to 2025.”
PG&E announced on June 21, 2016 that it will close Diablo Canyon as it phases out its production of nuclear power in California by August 2025, when its current Nuclear Regulatory Commission operating licenses expire. The plant’s operations account for approximately $10 million, or less than 2 percent, of the County’s total budget. The closure will likely have a bigger impact on local schools and emergency services that receive a larger portion of their revenue from taxes and funds from the plant.
“People should be concerned about the local impact this plant closure will have on our community,” said County Administrative Officer Dan Buckshi. “The County has been planning for this possibility for many years and will continue to work with the community to mitigate some of the expected economic impacts.”
PG&E has been generating nuclear power at Diablo Canyon Power Plant since 1985. The plant, which is located in Avila Beach, currently provides electricity to more than 1.6 million homes through two 1,100 megawatt reactors.
For the past several years, the County has been working with the Economic Vitality Corporation (EVC) and other community businesses and partners to diversify the local economy. According to an EVC report in 2015, San Luis Obispo County employment is projected to increase by 20,000 jobs – to over 112,000 over the next 20 years. At the same time, San Luis Obispo County’s unemployment rate continues to decline at 4.3 percent, according to the latest reports, which is the lowest it’s been since the start of the recession.
“We have been anticipating the closure of the power plant and we intend to accelerate our efforts regarding our economic strategy,” Buckshi said.