In the last decade, Americans have been buying increasing numbers of computers, plasma televisions, and video games, forcing utilities to provide greater amounts of electricity. A June report by the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration predicted that the nation will need 30 percent more electricity by 2030. To meet that demand, utility companies have been scrambling to build new electric power plants -- 30 new nuclear plants and more than 100 coal-fired power plants are now on the drawing board. But will those plants get built?
If the nation slides into a recession, electricity demand could plummet. And without radical increases in consumer electricity rates, the effects of volatility in the stock market might curtail electric companies' ability to finance their construction plans.
Will the nation's economic downturn dampen the availability of private funding at reasonable cost for new nuclear power plants, wind and solar projects, natural gas and clean coal facilities, and expansion of the interstate electric grid?
-- Margaret Kriz, NationalJournal.com