California nuclear plant remains shutdown

The San Onofre nuclear plant remains shutdown, after damage to one of the steam generator pipes was found early last year.


The nuclear plant had been responsible for providing roughly 8% of the electricity for the entire state.


Southern California Edison (SCE), the owner of the San Onofre facility, has petitioned to resume operations on one of its reactors, but that could take months for regulators to review.


As summer looms, officials are concerned that there will not be enough electricity to power the metropolises of San Diego and Los Angeles, where the San Onofre unit is located between.


The possibility of rolling blackouts or reliance on a voluntary energy conservation plan has many Californians worried.


The lack of nuclear energy production has forced SCE to ramp up electric generation at some of its other fossil-fuel combusting plants.


This increased electric production from natural gas and coal-fired facilities has increased overall emissions, since nuclear energy plants don’t result in any emissions.


Since electric utilities began accounting for their annual emissions this year, the unexpected increase in carbon emissions will likely require them to purchase additional California carbon allowances at the May 16 auction.


CCAs reached a settlement price of $13.62 apiece in the auction last February.


SCE will also look to purchase California carbon credits, which can be generated from different projects, including Avoided Conversion and Improved Forest Management activities.


Companies can buy carbon credits to meet up to 8% of their compliance obligation, creating a potential demand for over 20 million credits by 2014, and 200 million credits by 2020.