For the First Time in 40 Years, Electricity Use Drops

I read today in the WSJ that utilities in the US have been jolted by a drop in power use, and it has dire implications for the future of alternative energy. That’s on top of massive problems getting financing that has put many solar and wind projects on hold. The utilities that have to pay for them are facing a dearth of ways to raise the money…and amidst layoffs and shutdowns have moved them to back burners.

The biggest wind project in the US, to be built in the Mohave desert, is just one of these exciting ideas that Obama is pushing big time to be shunted aside for the unglamourous reason…no funds.

The utilities have seen demand for electricity rise every year about 1-2 percent, and so we’ve heard big warnings about how much we need new power plants. But with recession now upon us, giants like Xcel energy in Minneapolis saw a decline of 3 %. “it’s first time in 40 years I’ve seen a decline in sales to homes,” said Dick Kelly, the company’s CEO. Duke Energy’s doing even worse, a 7.2% drop in home electricity sales. So building these new nuclear and clean coal plants, along with the solar and wind projects, are going to be much harder to justify.