Guess what, Californians are saving energy

While California is thought to be one of the places where more energy is used (driving in LA, all those air conditioners), statistics released in the inaugural "California Green Innovation Index" run counter to that idea and show that the conventional wisdom is wrong: Californians, per capita, actually spend a lot less money on electricity than the rest of the country. The reason? Energy saving being common practice.

What's even more interesting is that Californians drive fewer miles than the rest of the country (although overall miles driven continue to grow) and that the state emits less greenhouse gas (GHG) per capita than Germany, the UK or Japan. And, to return to the comparison with other states, Texas spends twice as much money on electricity. Another interesting finding is that California is a leader in green innovation: about a third of the US green economy is generated here.

The "California Green Innovation Index" is an initiative made by the non-profit organization called Next 10, which was founded and funded by venture capitalist F. Noel Perry. This organization's goal is to track economy and environment while California is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels (Check this link for the state's AB 32 Act about this matter).

Continue reading for more highlights about this report.

[Source: Next 10]

From Next 10:
  • As a result of the first wave of green innovation, which began in the 1970s, it comes as no surprise that California is more energy efficient and emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions per capita than the United States as a whole. However, California also emits fewer GHG emissions per capita than Germany, the United Kingdom or Japan.
  • With the eighth largest economy in the world and one of the nation's highest gross domestic products per capita, California's per capita GHG emissions are less than one-half the rest of the nation and are lower than they were 15 years ago. Among states, only Rhode Island emits fewer GHG emissions per capita than California.
  • Green innovation, combined with other factors, allow Californians to spend less on electricity and have more to spend on other parts of the economy than the rest of the nation.
  • The average monthly residential electricity bill in California is less than half of the average monthly bill in Texas, representing a total savings for Californians of nearly $25 billion in 2005. As a fraction of the state economy, Texas' overall electricity bill is almost double California's bill.
  • California building and appliance standards alone have saved $56 billion through 2003 and are expected to save another $23 billion by 2013.
  • California utility programs and efficiency standards have reduced the need for 24 power plants between 1975 and 2006.
  • California has established itself as a world leader in green innovation. California inventors account for 44 percent of total U.S. patents for solar and 37 percent of total U.S. patents for wind technology. The state attracted 36 percent of total venture capital investment in clean energy, indicating our state's leadership in the innovation of new technologies.
  • Since 1990, green business establishments in the state have grown by 84 percent and employment has doubled. Growth in green establishments has been strongest in solar energy generation.
    California has fewer vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita than the rest of the country. While per capita VMT in the rest of the country has grown consistently since 1995, in California per capita VMT has declined in recent years, and is only slightly higher than in 1995.
  • From 2000-2005, registrations of alternative fuel vehicles (not including Flex Fuel Vehicles or FFV) increased 1800 percent.
  • Per capita petroleum consumption in California has fallen consistently since 1989 and is now below 1970 levels.

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