Ten Reasons Why Electric Rates Will Soar in the Next Ten Years - It's Time For Home Solar Energy
The news today is full of grim stories about the world's growing energy problems. Is solar energy in your future? The sun's power is a free resource, available not only to utilities and big businesses Power Company but to the little guys as well. It's time to consider solar energy for your home. This article gives ten reasons why electric rates will soar in the next ten years, why solar energy probably is in your future, and how to get started now.
- Aging infrastructure. On December 17, 1880, Thomas Edison founded the Edison Electric Illuminating Company. The company established the first investor-owned electric utility in 1882 on Pearl Street Station, New York City. On September 4, 1882, Edison turned on the switch to his Pearl Street generating station's electrical power distribution system. Remarkable achievement, isn't it? The entire electrical system in the U.S. was built in In less than 130 years! But it is also aging, depreciating and becoming obsolete. Major investments are needed just for maintenance, safety and reliability.
- New power plants. Huge investments are required to build new power plants to replace obsolete plants and keep up with growing demand.
- Waste disposal. Finding environmentally acceptable methods to dispose of wastes from power plants (e.g., nuclear wastes, fly ash, and coming requirements for carbon removal) requires large investments.
- Transmission grid. Massive infrastructure investments will be required to upgrade the nation's transmission grid. It is difficult and often impossible to build new transmission lines on new rights-of-way.
- Global economic growth. China, India and other developing nations are adding to the global demand for the fuels required for power plants, especially coal and natural gas.
- Rising fuel costs. Rising demand and supply shortages result in rising costs for power plant fuel.
- Deregulation. A number of states have placed artificial caps on electric rate increases. Those caps are scheduled to be removed, allowing electricity prices to rise more rapidly.
- Environmental rules. Power plants must comply with air and water pollution rules. In order to protect the environment, the cost of compliance will continue to rise.
- New carbon limits. As awareness of the deadly effect of greenhouse gases is translated into economic and regulatory constraints on carbon emissions, the electric power industry will be faced with more new costs.
- Challenge of converting to renewable energy sources. Many utilities want to invest in renewable energy sources -- such as solar, wind, geothermal -- but the investment costs in this new infrastructure will be substantial. And the best locations for large-scale solar and wind energy are in southwestern U.S., requiring massive new investments in electric transmission lines in order to deliver power to customers.