McGuireWoods Surveys Energy Executives on Energy Outlook in US

June 11, 2009

The U.S. Electric Utility Industry Survey by McGuireWoods LLP, which was finalized late in the fourth quarter of 2008, surveyed 249 CEOs of utility companies throughout the United States. Below are some of the findings that seem most striking:

  • 85% of the energy CEOs predict that the country could begin seeing an energy crisis within five years.
  • 69% of the energy CEOs state that to avert an energy crisis there needs to be improved regulatory and legislative framework, so companies can invest in infrastructure.
  • 88% of the energy CEOs think that existing electric transmission lines need to be expanded and upgraded.
  • In the next 1-3 years, 37% of the energy CEOs plan to allocate capital investments in maintenance of existing energy infrastructure; 34% in building new generation assets; and 29% in building new transmission/distribution assets.
  • 1/3 of CEOs believe energy efficiency and demand management will satisfy the projected growth in U.S. demand. Yet, only 2% of the energy CEOs believe that mandatory demand management, efficiency and conservation measures will avert an energy crisis.
  • 90% of the energy CEOs believe that nuclear investment is critical to addressing the energy shortfall. CEOs would like to see the proportion of America’s electric energy coming from nuclear power to grow from its current level of 20% today to 46% by 2028.
  • 50% of CEOs believe clean coal technologies will become a viable cost effective means of coal generation.
  • However, 60% of the energy CEOs believe US customers are not willing to pay higher costs for low carbon electric generation technologies such as nuclear, wind or clean coal sequestration.
  • The energy CEO’s believe that 85% of the public; 75% of the media and 69% of the elected officials do not understand the real costs and related effects of using more renewable as an energy source.
  • 57% of the energy CEOs believe tax incentives for developing alternative or renewable resources is important to address energy challenges. However, most CEOs do not believe renewable energy is a long term cost effective solution to meeting energy demand.

For additional information, contact Joanne Katsantonis, chair, Energy & Utility practice. To view the press release, please click here.