“An unreliable energy system discourages businesses from locating or even remaining in California, resulting in lost jobs and state revenues.” – Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

In an average year, California adds over 350,000 to its already burgeoning population; and developers construct approximately 200,000 new housing units. This type of record-breaking growth brings immense increases in demand for energy and other resources. How can we cope with this ever increasing level of demand? Will California have the energy it needs?

Part of the problem is poor planning by the state and its utilities and aging power plants—but population is also a key factor.

Despite improvements in power plant licensing, enormously successful energy efficiency programs, and continued technological advances, development of new energy supplies in California is not keeping pace with the state's increasing demand. Construction of new power plants has lagged and the number of new plant permit applications has decreased.

While energy crises seem a part of the distant past, a report by the California Energy Commission predicted a recurrence of the crisis. Electricity rates are still among the highest in the nation, forcing businesses to struggle to maintain profit margins as the cost of doing business in the state rises.

Energy demand will only continue to rise with California's rapidly growing population. Indeed, because per capita energy consumption is decreasing due to energy efficiency and conservation efforts, population growth is responsible for virtually all of the increase in demand.  Were it not for the state’s population growth, energy consumption – and the environmental impacts it causes – would actually be diminishing. Weather-adjusted electricity consumption in California increases at an average of two percent every year.