California does deserve to be called the Golden State, not only does it glimmer in shine because of the numerous Hollywood stars in Los Angeles, but also because the state is quickly becoming the gold standard in the U.S. when it comes to clean and renewable energy. At the moment, California is the leading solar power user in the U.S.
The Golden State also generates the most solar power in the country and is actually the first state to generate more than 5% of electricity from utility-scale solar panel arrays. For a state with a population of nearly 40 million Americans, one could wonder how Californians use this electricity, whether it is generated from solar power or traditional utility electricity.
So we have made a compilation and analysis of various data collected from the population of California on how they use their electricity. Read on to find out about the Golden State’s power usage.
The source of power
To understand how people in California get to spend their electricity, we must first show where the Californians actually get their electricity. There are various sources which account for the total electricity supplies of California, sadly, nonrenewable resources still dominate the scene, hence why electricity can get expensive in the said state.
As of March 2018 though, the renewable energy sources are catching up. Based on the data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) for March 2018, The most consumed resource of California for electricity is:
- Natural Gas 6,510 thousand Megawatt hour (MWh).
- Nonhydroelectric Renewables is second at 4,919 thousand MWh
- Hydroelectric is third at 1,830 MWh
- While Nuclear is fourth and last at 1,047 MWh
It is worth noting that the Nonhydroelectric Renewables is a combination of solar, wind, and geothermal, and other renewables which do not involve moving bodies of water. With further developments on solar power down the road, California could soon be using clean renewable energy more than nonrenewable, a few more years perhaps and this will happen.
Consumption by sector
Now, this is the breakdown of how Californians use their well-earned energy per sector, the date is from 2016 though, some changes are in order but probably not that big:
- Transportation uses 39.8 percent, nearly forty percent of the state’s energy use
- Industrial uses 23.7 percent
- Commercial is third and uses 18.9 percent
- While residential is fourth and last and uses 17.7 percent
These facts are quite surprising because most of us probably think that the biggest energy consumption accounts for residential use, after all, that is 40 million people who need electricity. However, the statistics from EIA show that California is more of an industrial and commercial powerhouse than a hungry city of citizens. Most of its energy is used by businesses.
The transportation sector does use the most energy and this is because gasoline is thrown into the mix as part of energy consumption. However, remove them and you would still have the Industrial sector as the biggest energy user in California. The residential sector, after all, is not the culprit for the large electricity or energy consumption of California.
Which counties consume the most electricity?
Now you might be wondering when it comes to the regions of California, which ones are the most power-hungry? Here are the top 12 states which use the most electricity in the state, courtesy of California Energy Commission. The data is for 2016 though, again, some changes might be in order but probably not that big to merit significant changes.
As you can see, the City of Angels consumes a heavenly chunk of the electricity produced in California. The gap between Los Angeles and Orange County is quite huge, now don’t go blaming Beverly Hills just yet, most of the big houses there are probably empty since the Hollywood stars are always busy and on the move.
In fact, here is the residential electricity consumption for the 12 states mentioned:
As you can see, Los Angeles residents only account for about 35 percent of the total electricity consumption in the county. The 65 percent of the consumption is actually from the non-residential sectors, meaning industrial and commercial:
That huge 65 percent non-residential electricity consumption could be a combination of offices, studios, factories, malls, shops, restaurants, and other power-intensive establishments which Los Angeles has in spades. The fact of the matter is, residents simply do not consume that much electricity.
Still, you might want to consider this data when you plan to move to California, more electricity consumption typically means higher electricity prices. Such was the new policy for California’s electricity price hike.