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Californians among the most efficient energy consumers in the country

Staff writer |
California consumes the second largest amount of energy in the nation, but California is also one of the most energy-efficient states.

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Compared to all other states, California ranks among the lowest in the nation for both per capita energy consumption and per capita energy spending.

California Energy: Comparing Production, Consumption & Spending in all 50 States was prepared by Beacon Economics, as a part of Next 10's Compare50 project, which ranks states against each other using 150 data sets focused on the economy, jobs, innovation, equity, income, community and government.

The report finds that California uses a lot of energy because it has the largest population and the largest economy of any state in the nation. California ranks near the top in commercial, residential, industrial, and transportation energy consumption and expenditures.

But at the same time, per capita energy consumption remains low in California. The report finds this is due to a legacy of innovative public policies that encourage energy efficiency, along with energy rates that are higher than the national average.

California leads the nation in renewable energy production, and comes in second place when large hydropower is included. It also is one of the largest producers of fossil fuels in the country.

Because of its diversity of energy sources, California's economy is better insulated from the effects of falling oil prices than states with economies that are more dependent on the industry, such as North Dakota or Texas.

"The state is continuing to build on its already robust renewable energy production, while creating a more diversified energy portfolio that will help the state meet its landmark emission reduction targets," Perry said.

In all 50 states California ranked:

- 1st in total renewable energy production exclusive of large hydropower
- 2nd in total renewable energy production (after Washington, when including large hydropower)
- California leads the nation in total solar projects at nearly 490,000, with the most megawatts installed at 3,868 MW
- 1st in total population and state real GDP
- 4th lowest in per-capita energy consumption
- 4th lowest in per-capita energy expenditures
- 2nd in total energy consumption and expenditures (after Texas).

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