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Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Salud Carbajal (CA-24)

Washington, DC – Last week, Congressman Salud Carbajal held a virtual press conference to introduce his bill, the Energy Opportunity Zones Act, which creates and expands tax credits to encourage renewable energy investment in regions, like ours, where a nuclear power plant is slated to close in the near future or in the case of coal power plants which have ceased operations.  

“The closure of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant presents a challenge for our community, but it also presents an opportunity to designate the Central Coast a renewable energy hub,” said Rep. Carbajal. “This bill utilizes tax credits to encourage investment in renewable energy in our region, creating good-paying jobs and helping to protect our planet all at the same time.”

“The Energy Opportunity Zone designation will provide tax credits to encourage investment in renewable energy on the Central Coast, helping to both offset the energy and job losses the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant’s closure will have on San Luis Obispo, and create new high paying jobs in our region and regions across the country,” said Melissa James, CEO of REACH. “REACH was founded in the wake of the decision to close the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant with a mandate not only to mitigate the loss of 1,500 high-paying jobs but also to seize opportunities to foster a brighter Central Coast future.”

Across the nation, U.S. nuclear capacity is estimated to fall by 10.5 GW by 2025 from the closings of twelve reactors. As our country transitions away from nuclear and coal energy sources, it is important that communities who relied on nuclear power plants for energy, jobs, and more are not left behind in the transition.

The Energy Opportunity Zones Act designates regions, like the Central Coast, with an impending shutdown of a nuclear power plant or shuttered coal power plant as “energy opportunity zones.” This designation would extend, strengthen, and create tax credits that encourage investment in renewable energy on the Central Coast – helping to offset the challenges the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant’s closure will create for San Luis Obispo county.

“We applaud this bill as a welcome boost to two key components of our regional strategy: to foster the growth of good-paying jobs in the clean tech/renewable energy industry across the Central Coast and to transform the plant into a center of renewable energy research and innovation,” added James. “This legislation has far-reaching potential to accelerate the nation’s transition to cleaner, renewable energy production and also create accessible, good-paying jobs in communities like ours impacted by plant closures across the country.”

The text of the bill can be found here. A two-page summary of the bill is available here.

Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County.