Implications of the California Drought on Energy Use and Climate Concerns

By: David L. Huard
– Energy Manager Today

California's drought is now in its fourth year, and state leaders are faced with making unprecedented decisions further restricting water use. The brown lawns and dying trees are all too obvious and painful examples of the drought's impact. However, somewhat lost in the public discussion, but of critical importance, is the impact of the drought on the energy sector, including power use, transmission and supply, in addition to several other secondary impacts such as diminished air quality and increased commodity prices.

The full impact of this four-year drought is still unknown and will remain so until further studies can be conducted. However, certain interim effects are inevitable in drought years and should be recognized and discussed as state agencies look to address the drought's implications.

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