Gas, widely seen as a transition fuel, provides 45% of California’s power, augmented by sustainable large-scale hydro (17.89%) and wind and solar. Indeed, California is one of only three U.S. states in which solar exceeds 10% of power generation. As of 2017 coal accounted for only 4.1% of California’s power, compared to 30% nationally and it will be zero by 2026.
One contributing factor to this is the dominance of low-energy intensive industries in the state, which include agriculture and services, science and technology, trade, media and tourism. As a result, California has a relatively low per capita electricity consumption rate of 6,536 per kilowatt hour (KWh), compared to the U.S. figure of 11,634 KWh. Moreover, at the end of 2017, California was home to 8% of the global electric vehicle fleet, a clear expression of the public “greenness.”
Also, unusually, electricity demand grew since 1990 from 220,000 gigawatt hour (GWh) to 260,000 GWh in 2018 and is set to reach 339,863 GWh by 2030, according to California Energy Commission (CEC) forecasts. The need to power the expected increasing number of electric vehicles on Californian roads accounts for much of the anticipated growth in electricity demand.
Power generation absorbs 45% of California’s gas supply, with industry taking 25%; the residential sector 21% leaving 9% for commercial use. More than a quarter of California households use electricity for heating their homes. Since the State’s energy, reforms permitted groups of businesses and residents to form energy-purchasing organisations traditional utilities have lost around 2.5 million customers. Read more
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