A Sunday (Feb 3, 2008) Washington Post article entitled Threat of Power Shortages Generating New Urgency lays out what is unfortunately the same old story. Suppliers of electricity are warning regulators and the public that increasing demand will lead to serious power shortages in the not too distant future. In the short run, energy costs are climbing dramatically. In the long run, there simply wont be enough power to go around. The article explains: With its humming data centers and air-conditioned mansions, the Washington region is using 18 percent more electricity than in 2001. And as demand has gone up, so have prices. Some homeowners have seen their rates jump by half or more. Dominion Virginia Power continues to battle environmental groups over plans for a new power line connecting the region with power from the Midwest. A proposed third reactor at BGEs Calvert Cliffs nuclear site is running into similar objections. Opponents say the power company is exaggerating the need for the project and ignoring ways to save energy and money. Utility and government officials say the region has to face the idea that its demand for electricity could overtake the supply. In a little more than three years, they say, lights could flicker off in rolling blackouts. Environmentalists say the region could solve many of its problems by simply conserving energy.
NMBY (Not in My Back Yard) and BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) policy advocates are ignoring the handwriting on the wall. With or without conservation, our region must have access to more power. And, 21st Century plants and buildings need high quality power to run high tech equipment and services. If we dont get on with upgrading our electricity infrastructure, well soon be living and working in the dark. Environmentalists may be ready for this but what about the rest of us?