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California Energy Efficiency: Lessons for the Rest of the World, or Not?

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Abstract

Starting in the 1970s California's residential electricity consumption per capita stopped increasing, while other states' electricity use continued to grow steadily. Similar patterns can be seen in non-electric energy, industry, and transportation. Had other states' energy use followed California's trajectory, the U.S. would have already achieved the Obama Administration's goal of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. What accounts for California's residential electricity savings? Some credit regulations, especially the strict energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances enacted by California in the mid-1970s. They argue that other states and countries could replicate California's gains, and that California should build on its own success by tightening those standards further. Skeptics point to three long-run trends that differentiate California's electricity demand from other states: (1) shifting of the U.S. population towards warmer climates of the South and West; (2) relatively small income elasticity of energy demand in California's temperate climate; and (3) evolving differences between the demographics of households in California and other states. Together, these trends account for virtually all of California's apparent residential electricity savings, thus providing no lessons for other states or countries considering adopting or tightening their energy efficiency standards.

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  • Arik Levinson, 2013. "California Energy Efficiency: Lessons for the Rest of the World, or Not?," Working Papers gueconwpa~13-13-03, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~13-13-03
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    Cited by:

    1. Considine, Timothy & Manderson, Edward, 2014. "The role of energy conservation and natural gas prices in the costs of achieving California's renewable energy goals," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 291-301.
    2. Modeste, Kameni Nematchoua & Mempouo, Blaise & René, Tchinda & Costa, Ángel M. & Orosa, José A. & Raminosoa, Chrysostôme R.R. & Mamiharijaona, Ramaroson, 2015. "Resource potential and energy efficiency in the buildings of Cameroon: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 835-846.
    3. Maya M. Papineau, 2015. "Setting the Standard: Commercial Electricity Consumption Responses to Energy Codes," Carleton Economic Papers 15-04, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    4. Matthew E. Kahn & Nils Kok & Peng Liu, 2016. "Is California More Energy Efficient than the Rest of the Nation? Evidence from Commercial Real Estate," NBER Working Papers 21912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:eee:eneeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:63-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:bla:jconsa:v:51:y:2017:i:2:p:448-462 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Arthur Grimes, Nicholas Preval, Chris Young, Richard Arnold, Tim Denne, Philippa Howden-Chapman, and Lucy Telfar-Barnard, 2016. "Does Retrofitted Insulation Reduce Household Energy Use? Theory and Practice," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4).
    8. Arik Levinson, 2014. "How Much Energy Do Building Energy Codes Really Save? Evidence from California," NBER Working Papers 20797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

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