Public Utilities Reports

PUR Guide 2012 Fully Updated Version

Available NOW!
PUR Guide

This comprehensive self-study certification course is designed to teach the novice or pro everything they need to understand and succeed in every phase of the public utilities business.

Order Now

Stabilizing California's Demand

The real reasons behind the state’s energy savings.

Fortnightly Magazine - March 2009

those in the rest of the United States. The California manufacturing economy is more heavily dominated by non-energy-intensive industries than is the case nationally, and between 1990 and 2005, employment in energy-intensive industries declined more in California than was the case for the rest of the United States.

In California, energy-intensive manufacturing industries 20 accounted for about 20 percent of total manufacturing employment in 2005 compared to 26 percent in the rest of the United States. 21 In terms of trends over time, in California, energy-intensive manufacturing industries have shown greater reductions in employment than is the case for the rest of the United States. Between 1990 and 2005, employment in the groups of industries characterized by high energy use fell by 20 percent in California compared to 16 percent in the rest of the United States. This helps explain the divergence between California and the rest of the country in terms of overall energy consumption per capita. Trends within the primary metal industries provided additional evidence to suggest that employment in the specific industries that are particularly energy intensive declined to a greater extent in California than nationally. In California, the number of employees in the energy-intensive aluminum industry declined by 40 percent compared to 31 percent in the rest of the United States. Conversely, employment in the less energy-intensive pharmaceutical industry (a sub-industry within the chemicals group) grew more rapidly in California than nationally (by 81 percent compared to 34 percent). In addition, the energy intensity of one of California’s most important industries, computer and electronic product manufacturing (which accounts for over one-fifth of both manufacturing employment and manufacturing value added in the state, compared to 10 percent nationally), has declined substantially over the past 20 years. Not only is this industry a relatively low user of energy, but its use of energy per $ value added also has declined. 22

This analysis indicates that the manufacturing sector has contributed both to the relatively low levels of per capita consumption of electricity in California and the divergence between trends in consumption in the state and those in the rest of the United States. The California manufacturing economy is more heavily dominated by non-energy intensive industries than is the case nationally, and between 1990 and 2005 employment in energy-intensive industries declined more in California than was the case for the rest of the United States.

Energy-Efficiency Savings

Interestingly, our per capita analysis provides additional insight to our earlier separate analysis concerning the utility EE program savings portion of California’s cumulative energy savings (see Figure 2) .23 If utility program EE savings are most likely less robust than historically characterized, then it makes sense that California’s historical EE savings (see Figure 1) cannot fully account for California’s per capita consumption (see Figure 2) .

Since the late 1980s, California’s utility EE programs have contributed to only a modest growth in new or incremental savings; 24 building and appliance standards apparently register the lion’s share of continued EE savings growth. 25 This is illustrated per Figure 6, which reorders or restacks the