Study: California Could Replace San Onofre Nuke With Renewables via Rewire

As the long process of diagnosing the damages San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on the San Diego coast becomes longer, chances increase that the 2.2-gigawatt nuclear power plant could be out of commission as late as next summer. Going without that power generating capacity puts the state at greater risk of brownouts. But a study just released by a renowned alternative energy thinktank holds that the state could make up for lost power from San Onofre by conserving energy and increasing our use of easily implemented renewable energy such as rooftop solar.

The report, Reinventing Fire in Southern California; Distributed Resources and the San Onofre Outage, published this week by the Rocky Mountain Institute, details a number of historic situations in which communities conserved energy in response to unanticipated loss of power, including 2011’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan. Short-term measures in those crises made it possible to reduce demand for power by 20% or more in the very short term — a fact that RMI’s authors Mathias Bell and James Newcomb say offers significant hope for Californians worried about going without San Onofre.

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