Ringside: How to Deliver Affordable Energy Again in California

via californiaglobe.com

Californians pay some of the highest prices for energy in the United States. Gasoline last year averaged $4.89 per gallon, and diesel fuel $5.07 per gallon, both the highest in the country. Electricity rates had California 45th in the nation in 2023 at $0.27 per kilowatt-hour, the worst of every major state with the sole exception of Massachusetts, which edged California out for the 46th spot at $0.28 per kilowatt-hour. Only in the price of natural gas was California’s performance not the worst, insofar as California’s prices were the 6th worst in the nation at $19.63 per thousand cubic feet, with the only major state that with higher prices being Florida at $25.37 per thousand cubic feet.

Energy is already punitively expensive in California, but it’s likely to get worse. Achieving “net zero” emissions requires mass conversion to renewable electricity, and that process has barely begun. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, in 2021 (the most recent year for which we have data), Californians consumed 6.9 quadrillion BTUs of energy, yet in that same year, according to the California Energy Commission, the state only produced 0.7 quadrillion BTUs of electricity.

Isn’t the goal “net zero”? And to do that, don’t we have to electrify every sector of our economy? We’re only 10 percent of the way.