California Sales Ban of New Gasoline & Diesel Vehicles Jolts Half-Dead Business Model of Electric Utilities & Power Producers, Including in Other States | Wolf Street

You could practically hear the Champaign bottles pop during electric-utility industry Zoom meetings when California Governor Gavin Newsom issued the executive order to phase out the sale of new cars and light trucks with internal combustion engines by 2035 in the state – though sales of used ICE vehicles would continue beyond that date.

While the announcement was technology-neutral – “all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035,” it said – the top contenders are battery-electric vehicles (EVs), with hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles running in distant second place. EVs would create demand for electricity.

California’s electric utilities and power producers, and power producers in other states from which California buys electricity, have had a big problem since 2008: Despite 8% population growth in the state and 32% “real” GDP growth (adjusted for inflation), electricity sales to end-users peaked in 2008 and then zigzagged down, eventually by 5% to 255,224 gigagwatthours in 2018, the lowest since 2005, according to the latest annual data available from the EIA:

California Sales Ban of New Gasoline & Diesel Vehicles Jolts Half-Dead Business Model of Electric Utilities & Power Producers, Including in Other States | Wolf Street

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