Total Cost to Replace Diablo Canyon with Solar Power Plants Tops Out at $83.8 Billion!
Anthony J. Armini, PhD.
Several CGNP scientists have recently completed a study to determine the costs and logistics required to replace the electric generating capacity of Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) with a number of Topaz class 500 MW Solar Plants. To replace DCPP’s 18,000 GWh per year of steady electricity requires a 3 component approach.
However to complete this new power network, additional transmission lines need to be built to connect the 18 new solar power plants to the remote storage facilities (hydro-storage must be located in the mountains) and to the power customers.
Staff of the California Energy Commission (CEC) have completed an assessment of the state's transmission grid and its ability to bring online large amounts of additional renewable capacity. The CEC estimates that upgrades and additional High Voltage lines will cost about $5.6 billion. The report can be found here.
So the complete system to replace DCPP would cost $78.2 billion for items 1 and 2 plus $5.6 billion for item 3 comes to $83.8 billion. The total construction cost in 1985 to build DCPP was only about $5.5 billion and the plant could certainly continue to operate until 2050. The plan to make a new investment of $83.8 billion to replace DCPP, an existing facility needing no new investment and can deliver emission-free electricity until 2050, is the height of foolishness which only government could propose.