Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2021 State Energy Data System (SEDS). Note: All Other Renewable Energy includes: Biodiesel, fuel ethanol, geothermal, wind, wood and waste. Fossil Fuel Energy includes: Coal, natural gas, and all petroleum products. Analysis by Beacon Economics
  • Renewable energy173 is the fastest-growing fuel source for both electricity and non-electricity consumption, growing by 5.6 and 128.7 percent, respectively, from 2011 to 2021. Renewable energy for electricity consumption reached its peak in 2017 and has plateaued since. In 2020, renewable electricity consumption dropped by 16.7 percent from 2019, followed by a further decrease of 0.5 percent in 2021. In contrast, at the national level, there was a 5.1 percent increase in renewable electricity consumption in 2021. As the economy recovers, both fossil fuel consumption (for electricity and non-electricity) in California has risen by 5 percent since 2020. It is worth noting that fossil fuel electricity consumption in 2021 rebounded by 5 percent from the previous levels recorded in 2018.

173 This includes biodiesel and fuel ethanol as well as non-RPS eligible sources such as conventional hydroelectric. The State Energy Data Systems (SEDS) does not distinguish conventional hydroelectric from small hydro.

  • The significant 5.0 percent year-over-year increase in fossil fuel consumption in California demonstrate its role in the state's energy consumption. Fossil fuels continue to make up the majority, comprising 69.2 percent of the total energy consumed in California. Among the fossil fuels consumed, petroleum (excluding fuel ethanol) represents the largest share at 38.6 percent, followed by natural gas at 30.1 percent. However, there has been a notable decline in the consumption of natural gas, which decreased by 3.4 percent from 2016 to 2021. This decline has been largely offset by the increased adoption of renewable energy sources in the state.