California currently imports about 33 percent of its electricity from outside of the state. Of that 33 percent, 6 percent is from coal. This is compared to the 25 percent of energy imported into California in 2010 from outside states and it’s clear California is headed in the wrong direction. California will need to flip the trend in energy importing and begin to produce enough energy to become self-sustaining. Not an insignificant task.
California is also the third largest oil and gas producing state, despite what Californians may tell you. California produced on average 500,000 barrels of oil per day in 2014, third to Texas and North Dakota. This means several things. One, that California will need to eliminate its oil production in the state by 2045, leaving behind accessible and profitable hydrocarbons in the ground. Secondly, the rest of the United States will no longer have its third largest oil producing state, meaning potentially higher gas prices at the pump around the nation. This could be minimal if a reduction in oil production is gradual, but it will certainly have an impact.
The oil and gas industry supports approximately 456,000 jobs in California, many of which will be eliminated if the state transitions to 100 percent renewable energy. This equals $38 billion in Californian’s pockets from well-paying oil and gas jobs and accounts for 3.4 percent of the states GDP. In addition, California receives a kick back for all oil produced in the state, equaling $21 billion in revenue. These numbers ignore the positive impact of a burgeoning renewable energy sector and the jobs, GDP, and tax revenue it will generate. However, throughout such a significant change in a large state’s energy system, there will be an interim period where there are likely to be negative economic consequences.