New Report Finds California Nuclear Energy Has Received $8.2 Billion in Federal Subsidies

August 26, 2013

DBL Part­ners exam­ines ratio­nale for sub­si­diz­ing mature, declin­ing energy sources

SAN FRANCISCO (August 26, 2013) DBL Part­ners, a dou­ble bot­tom line ven­ture cap­i­tal firm, today announced a report reveal­ing that the Cal­i­for­nia nuclear indus­try has received $8.21 bil­lion in fed­eral sub­si­dies over the last 50 years. The report, Ask Saint Onofrio: Find­ing What Has Been Lost in A Tale of Two Energy Sources, com­pares fed­eral sub­si­dies for nuclear energy to those pro­vided for dis­trib­uted solar energy.

In keep­ing with our nation’s tra­di­tion of sup­port­ing the emer­gence of new energy sources, fed­eral sub­si­dies were nec­es­sary and highly-​​effective for the early growth of the nuclear indus­try and have been vital to the recent growth of the nascent dis­trib­uted solar indus­try,” said report co-​​author and Man­ag­ing Part­ner of DBL Part­ners Nancy E. Pfund,

Nuclear energy has received four times more fed­eral sup­port than dis­trib­uted solar over a period six times as long. While solar is begin­ning to com­prise a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of installed capac­ity in Cal­i­for­nia, it has received less sup­port than nuclear did in its ear­li­est years. At the same time, the clo­sure of the San Onofre Nuclear Gen­er­at­ing Sta­tion (SONGS) has reduced California’s in-​​state nuclear gen­er­a­tion by almost 50 percent.

Pfund adds, “The dif­fer­ence is that despite the declin­ing role of nuclear power in the Golden State, fed­eral sub­si­dies for nuclear have become a per­pe­tu­ity. Mean­while, solar sub­si­dies are at risk of end­ing dur­ing the industry’s infancy, even as solar cre­ates thou­sands of Cal­i­for­nia jobs.”

Ask Saint Onofrio dis­cusses the sig­nif­i­cance of the Price-​​Anderson Nuclear Indus­tries Indem­nity Act, which lim­its the costs for nuclear plants by shift­ing a por­tion of the lia­bil­ity for an acci­dent from plant oper­a­tors to tax­pay­ers. Also dis­cussed are decom­mis­sion­ing costs, which fall largely on ratepay­ers. In the case of San Onofre, clos­ing esti­mates are in the range of $4.1 billion.

Saint Onofrio, or San Onofre in Span­ish, is a Saint to whom peo­ple pray for help in find­ing lost things. The report con­cludes that Cal­i­for­ni­ans should ask Saint Onofrio what the ratio­nale is for sub­si­diz­ing mature and declin­ing energy sources, such as his namesake’s power plant, while con­tin­u­ing to limit incen­tives for new, clean energy.

This report builds on What Would Jef­fer­son Do?: The His­tor­i­cal Role of Fed­eral Sub­si­dies in Shap­ing America’s Energy Future, a DBL Part­ners report from 2011 that showed the cru­cial role fed­eral sub­si­dies have played in sup­port­ing emerg­ing energy tech­nolo­gies and dri­ving eco­nomic growth for the past 200 years. Con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, fed­eral sub­sidy lev­els for alter­na­tive energy sources have been much lower than sub­si­dies for “tra­di­tional” energy sources, such as coal, gas and nuclear.

To down­load a full copy of Ask Saint Onofrio: Find­ing What Has Been Lost in A Tale of Two Energy Sources visit http://​www​.dblpart​ners​.vc/​r​e​s​o​u​r​c​e​/​a​s​k​-​s​a​i​n​t​-​o​n​o​f​r​io/.


About DBL Partners

DBL Part­ners is a pio­neer of dou­ble bot­tom line ven­ture cap­i­tal, a new and grow­ing field of invest­ing that seeks to opti­mize both finan­cial return (First Bot­tom Line) and pos­i­tive social impact, includ­ing envi­ron­men­tal and regional ben­e­fits (Sec­ond Bot­tom Line). Based in San Fran­cisco, the firm focuses on clean­tech, IT, health care and sus­tain­abil­ity com­pa­nies. The firm’s port­fo­lio com­pa­nies, which include Bright­Source Energy, Eco­logic Brands, Eco­Scraps, FloDe­sign Wind Tur­bine, Rev­o­lu­tion Foods, Pan­dora Media (NYSE: P), SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY), Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) and oth­ers have cre­ated more than 5,000 jobs. More infor­ma­tion about DBL Part­ners is avail­able at www​.dblpart​ners​.vc.