By: DECLAN EGGERT
The type of energy and energy consumption we use in California today is not that great. We Californian’s as a whole use way more energy than we should, California ranks second in highest energy consumption in the nation. Luckily, this is all planned to change by 2050.
California Energy Usage Today
49% of the electrical energy produced in California comes from natural gas with 0% coming from coal. This is not a reflection on California’s environmentalism as much as it is a reflection that there is almost no coal in California. California was once a shallow ocean and therefore has a lot of natural gas/petroleum in the state. When you combine the availability of natural gas with the low cost of natural gas it makes sense that California currently uses natural gas to make more of its electricity than any other energy source. California only has one nuclear plant but it makes 10% of the state’s electricity, which is as much electricity as all the solar combined and more than all the wind combined.
Southern and central California get lots of sunshine so solar power is relatively common in California. Northern California gets a high amount of rainfall and snowfall so hydropower makes up 15% of energy generated by hydropower in the country. California leads the country in geothermal energy due to the volcanic activity in Northern California but it is less than 10% of its electricity generation.
California Energy Usage in the Future
Non-renewable resources that lead to climate change are going to need to be phased out as soon as possible. So California will have to find a way to replace all the natural gas it currently uses while the energy needs of the state continue to rise. In the future, hydroelectric could make up less of our energy than it does today. Even though hydroelectric is renewable and inexpensive, California has already made hydroelectric plants nearly everywhere it makes sense, so there’s no reason to increase the amount of hydroelectric plants in the future. Geothermal has a similar story, as most of the places in the state that give off geothermal energy, are already being used so it too will not increase. The last remaining nuclear plant and the natural gas plants can be shut down when there is enough solar and wind generation to replace their electricity. The natural breezes in California caused by the mountainous terrain and the Pacific ocean and the high amount of sunshine in the state mean the state’s electrical energy can be dominated by wind and solar energy. The long coastline with the Pacific Ocean also means newer technologies like harnessing the power of the ocean waves and tides is possible. All of this goes to show what California is and what this beautiful state can become.