Assemblyman Cunningham Introduces Pro-Nuclear Constitutional Amendment
SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham introduced ACA 18, a California constitutional amendment that would create fairness in the renewable energy market. If enacted, ACA 18 would allow nuclear power to qualify as a renewable energy source under the state’s renewables energy portfolio standard.
Currently, California’s climate change laws do not allow all types of carbon emission-free sources of power to be counted towards emissions goals. Instead, state law effectively picks and chooses winners and losers in the renewable energy marketplace. It does so by excluding certain types of emission-free power sources, like nuclear and large-scale hydro projects, from its Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS).
“Basic principles of fairness demand that we count all carbon-free power — including nuclear and large hydro — towards our climate goals. Furthermore, it will be extremely difficult if not impossible for the state to meet its 2030 and 2045 climate goals without counting nuclear and large hydro,” said Cunningham. “Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, the only operational nuclear plant in California, currently produces nine percent of the state’s power without any carbon emissions — but it is slated for closure in 2025. Without Diablo’s power production, there is no viable path to a statewide carbon-free energy grid.
“If we are serious about combatting climate change, and we should be, both nuclear power and large hydropower must play an important role in our transition to an emission-free energy grid. Future generations – and present ratepayers – deserve nothing less than an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to fighting climate change.”
Specifically, ACA 18 would prohibit the legislature from discriminating against any form of renewable or zero-carbon energy as part of its RPS moving forward. It would also immediately allow the state to start counting nuclear energy as part of its climate goals, thereby giving a potentially-relicensed Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant an opportunity to stay operational past 2025 and provide ratepayers with a cheap and constant source of energy for decades to come.
Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham is a small business owner; former school board member and prosecutor, husband and father of four. He proudly represents all of San Luis Obispo County and a portion of Santa Barbara County, including Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Cambria, Paso Robles, Grover Beach, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Los Osos, Morro Bay, Nipomo, Orcutt, Pismo Beach, Templeton, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Maria, and surrounding communities.