California Leads the U.S. in Energy Efficiency

Contrary to popular opinion, California’s high-tech economy is not the greedy energy giant it has been painted, according to the first independent assessment of energy conservation efforts in the state.

SAN FRANCISCO, California, US, 2001-09-17 [] The report, ‘Energy Efficiency Leadership in a Crisis: How California is Winning,’ analyzes the state’s conservation program and the role of its high-tech industry as a force for innovative industry-wide conservation efforts. The result has been the most successful statewide energy conservation campaign in history, says the report. California, already an efficient energy consumer, has reduced demand by a further 12 percent since June 2000 by using a variety of coordinated policies and incentives, including renewable energy. By June 2001, reductions had reached 4,800 MW, a drop of 12 percent in peak electricity use in one year, or the equivalent of 10 large power plants. The annual increase in California from 1990 to 1999 was only 1 percent, matching population growth and behind the 2.8 percent average growth of the state’s economy. Over the same period, electricity use for the U.S. as a whole was twice California’s, increasing by 2.2 percent per year and more than twice the 1 percent annual growth in population. “Conservation does not occur on the basis of happenstance or luck; it requires a plan,” says report author Ralph Cavanagh, director for the Natural Resources Defence Council. “Both the State of California and the high technology industry have proven that they have a plan that works to achieve rather dramatic energy conservation results to date.” The report also debunks a myth regarding the appetite of electricity-intensive data centres which house computer equipment. These facilities consume less than 0.15 percent of the nation’s electricity supply.