You are not logged in. Login

Electricity Infrastructure Report Executive Summary Part 5

 Failure to Act Economic Studies | Electricity Infrastructure Full Report (PDF)  
Previous Section | Next Section  

 Electrical pylon on a hill Future Impact on Economy

If future investment needs are not addressed to upgrade our nation’s electric generation, transmission, and distribution systems, the economy will suffer. Costs may occur in the form of higher costs for electric power, or costs incurred because of power unreliability, or costs associated with adopting more expensive industrial processes. Ultimately, these costs all lead to the same economic impact: diversion of household income from other uses and a reduction in the competitiveness of U.S. businesses in world economic markets.

As costs to households and businesses associated with service interruptions rise, GDP will fall by a total of $496 billion by 2020. The U.S. economy will end up with an average of 529,000 fewer jobs than it would otherwise have by 2020. As shown in Table 5, even with economic adjustments occurring later on, with catch-up investments, the result would still be 366,000 fewer jobs in 2040. In addition, personal income in the U.S. will fall by a total of $656 billion from expected levels by 2020.

Table 5: Effects on U.S. GDP and Jobs 


The cumulative need, based on anticipated investment levels and the estimated investment gap, will be $673 billion by 2020, an average of about $75 billion per year. Based on investment over the past decade, closing the gap is within reach: the average annual need projected from 2012 through 2020 falls within the range of annual investment totals in the last decade, and there is not a single year through 2020 that is projected to be outside that range.

Reliable electricity is essential for the functioning of many aspects of household and economic activity today. As the nation moves towards increasingly sophisticated use of information technology, computerized controls and sensitive electronics, the need for electricity reliability becomes even greater. For the entire system to function, generation facilities need to meet load demand, transmission lines must be able to transport electricity from generation plants to local distribution equipment, and the decentralized distribution networks must be kept in good repair to ensure reliable final delivery. Deficiencies or shortfalls in any one of these three elements of electricity infrastructure can affect our nation’s future economic growth and standard of living.

Back to top 

Previous Section | Next Section