Since the 1970s, energy efficiency in California has saved Californians $90 billion on their utility bills, created hundreds of thousands of efficiency jobs and will have avoided the pollution from at least 30 power plants, according to a new report.

The report, published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), measured the effect of California's commitment to improving energy efficiency over the last 40 years, comparing it to the long-term goals California's two most recent governors set forward.

Among the benefits of improved energy efficiency, the report found:

  • Californians' monthly household electricity bills are $20 less per month ($240 per year) than the national average.
  • They will save $85 per average household on utilities in 2015.
  • Their efforts will avoid another 11 power plants' worth of electricity over the next decade, because cutting energy waste reduces the need to generate power from fossil fuel power plants.
  • Since 2003, energy-cutting programs, building codes, and appliance standards saved enough electricity to power more than half of California's homes for one year, saved enough natural gas to equal the annual consumption of more than 2 million homes and slashed 30 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide pollution, equal to the annual emissions of 6 million cars.
While the report attributed massive economic and environmental growth to the state's commitment to energy-efficiency, it warned that the current trajectory would fall far short of Governor Jerry Brown's goal to double energy efficiency savings by 2030 without significant acceleration and improvements to the existing implementation process.

"We are on track to surpass the energy efficiency savings necessary to help meet the state's 2020 goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels," says Lara Ettenson, one of the report's authors, "but we have a long way to go to meet our climate and efficiency targets for 2030 and beyond."

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