Does generating electricity produce climate pollution? Isn't electricity really dirty?

Our electricity supply is surprisingly clean! Our fossil gas burning homes and cars are a much larger source of climate pollution than electricity generation.

California Progress Toward 100% Clean Electricity by 2045. 2021 - 59% with a breakdown of 37.2% Renewables, 10.7% Large Hydro, and 10.8% Nuclear. Within Renewables - 1.4% Small Hydro, 2.6% Biomass, 5.8% Geothermal, 11.5% Wind, and 15.9% Solar.

In California overall, 60% of our electricity today comes from non-fossil-fuel sources: mainly from renewables like solar and wind, along with hydroelectric power and nuclear power.

But in many regions of California, the grid is already much closer to being powered by 100% clean energy.

And in many places, for a few dollars more per month, you can subscribe to a clean energy plan through a CCA; find your local CCA here.



It's the same picture nationwide. We have more electric appliances and vehicles than ever before, yet we're using less electricity, and the carbon emissions from producing that electricity have fallen.

Over the last 20 years, the US population has grown and millions of new devices that use electricity have been plugged in, yet our consumption of electricity is remarkably flat. This is because electric devices continue to get more and more efficient, and appliance standards are forcing these efficiency improvements to scale and become the new normal. Since 2000, the US electric grid has handled the following growth in load and demand:

  • 30 million more people

  • 15 million more heat pumps

  • 2.5 million new EVs

  • 5,000 new data centers

  • 310 million new smart phones

Yet the total amount of electricity consumed has increased by only 11% in that same period, and carbon emissions from electricity generation have fallen by 33% as more renewables have been added and coal generation phases out.

When you adopt super efficient electric devices in your home, like heat pumps and heat pump water heaters, or replace your aging electric appliances with newer more efficient versions, or insulate your home, you are helping to advance the overall efficiency of our electric system. You can also help clean up our electric supply by subscribing to community solar (coming soon to California!) or installing rooftop solar.