WILL BRITAIN GO BLACK?
A number of experts are expecting blackouts in Britain by the year 2015, reports the UK magazine The Economist, because a number of power stations there are scheduled to close and too few new power plants are on the horizon. Wind turbines now being planned for installation off Britain's shores won't be enough to plug the gap, experts say. Gas-fired plants are an option because they can be built quickly, but the North Sea field where a lot of fuel comes from is getting old, and gas suppliers such as Russia and the Middle East are politically unstable.
CHEAPER ALL THE TIME
Say one thing for a recessionary economy: It's great for putting a damper on energy prices. Power providers say U.S. electricity demand fell about 4% in the first part of the year, resulting in a 40% drop in daily market prices over the same time period. The Wall Street Journal reports 2009 could have the sharpest falloff in electricity prices seen in more than 50 years and that the last two years could be the first period of consecutive annual declines since at least 1950.
VIDEO GAME JUICE
The Natural Resources Defense Council figures that game consoles consume about 16 billion kilowatt hours annually, assuming their users never turn them off. Crank up Nintendo's Wii and you'll use about one-seventh the power going into the Sony PlayStation 3 (16 W vs 150 W) and one-ninth as much as the Microsoft Xbox 360 (119 W) during game play. These figures are a good argument for turning off the console when not playing, or for building-in auto power-off features, says NRDC.
WHERE ARE THE POWER PLANTS?
Almost 20% of all power plants in the U.S. are located on the West Coast, reports Inudstrialinfo.com, despite periodic worries about power shortages there. About 15% are around the Great Lakes, not a surprise considering the area's role, at least until lately, as the country's industrial heartland.