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What is "Just Transition"?

Closing Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant 2009-2018: Decision-Making on Energy Investments Relevant to Climate Change

This paper examines the decision by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) decision to close its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California and discusses the negotiations process and the opposing views of various interest groups regarding the future of the plant.


This case study investigates the 2016 decision of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to close its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, as well as the varied support and opposition it faced from environmental groups and labor unions. It also analyzes the decision of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to grant permission for the plant to close in 2024.

The CPUC saw no reason to challenge PG&E’s decision, despite the state’s potential interest in extending the life of a nuclear power plant in order to limit carbon emissions. The author argues that the Diablo Canyon story illustrates the need for a strong regulatory framework to account for climate-related concerns in such decisions.