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The Electricity Crisis…Can It Happen Here?

An Activity for Research and Classroom Discussion

Could the California situation happen in your state? Answering that question demands gathering information about many things. In the process, you’ll become better-informed.

Supply vs. demand

  • What is the average demand for electricity here?
  • What is the peak demand?
  • During what times of day and what times of year is demand highest?
  • What is the amount of generating capacity in my state?
  • Can it meet peak demand?
  • Is my state an energy importer or exporter?
  • What is the projected need for energy in the years ahead? What time frame?
  • Is more generating capacity needed? Is it being built? Why or why not?

Energy mix for electrical generation

  • What are the percentages of electricity generated using:
  • nuclear, coal, hydro, oil, natural gas, other sources (solar, wind, etc)
  • What impact will this mix have on electricity costs and availability?
  • (consider price trends, market volatility, other demand for the energy source, generation costs using various energy sources, etc.)

Deregulation

  • What is “regulation” as applied to utilities like electricity, natural gas, telephone service, etc.?
  • Is our state preparing for deregulation?
  • If so, is the plan like California’s? What is different? Is that good?
  • Other states (like Texas and Pennsylvania) have deregulated and aren’t having the problems that California is experiencing.
  • Why is that? What did those states do differently? Were the circumstances different?

What other energy issues should we be concerned about in our state?

How do environmental concerns relate to our energy needs and choices?

Are some energy sources more environmentally friendly than others? How?

How should concerns about sustainability (sustainable development) impact our energy choices?

What impact can we make with energy conservation measures? Can we solve the entire supply problem this way?

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