US electricity demand is booming after years of stagnation, driven by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and electric vehicles and prompting warnings over the stability of the power grid. Retail sales of electricity will total nearly 4bn kilowatt-hours this year, a record, the government’s energy analysis agency forecast this week. Grid Strategies, a US consultancy, said that nationwide forecasts for electricity demand growth over the next five years had “shot up” from 2.6% in 2022 to 4.7% in 2023, in a report based on an analysis of utility filings to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The largest driver of increased electricity demand was $481bn in industrial projects that have been announced since 2021, including the manufacturing of chips and batteries. Another big driver was the anticipated construction of $150bn in new data centres by 2028 and clean technologies such as electric heat pumps, water heaters and cars.
- Date Posted:
- January 11, 2024
Capital inflows are increasing. While the US government remains the primary source of funding, private companies, especially new space players, have substantially increased their investment in recent years. Private-sector funding in space-related companies topped $10 billion in 2021—close to a tenfold increase over the past decade (2022, despite much angst, had the second-most inflows in history). If the current momentum continues, commercial funding for space ventures could surpass government funding in the next 20 years. We have seen this same trend occur during the early days of mass commercial air travel (enabled by government investment in aviation during World War II) and the internet (originally conceived as a national-security network in the United States).