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Electric power is indispensable to developed economies, and that simple fact is unlikely to change any time soon. The power industry will continue to grow globally, though regional differences will remain significant, according to the “Electric Power Industry Plant-Level Expenditures Worldwide Outlook,” recently released by the Dedham, MA-based ARC Advisory Group. For instance, though capital expenditure spending for electric power in the United States is declining, industrial powerhouse China and other Asian countries work overtime to develop their infrastructures.

Among the complexities facing users and providers of electricity around the globe. the ARC report cites growing per capita usage patterns, regulatory compliance, fluid and uncertain rate structures and deregulation, stricter operating procedures, competition from other primary energy sources such as so-called “clean coal,” and the “continuing evolution of privatization models.”

In terms of capital expenditures, planning in the United States for both electrical power users and suppliers will have to contend with overbuilding in some areas, potential conflicts between regulatory agencies, and the evolution of market networks. The ARC report points out that the advent of power trading and make-buy strategies in electric power transmission systems “brings economical operation and reliability into conflict,” a conflict that can result in such events as 2003’s major blackouts in the U.S. and Italy. This vulnerability to the market is growing at the same time that reliable power to run “digital economies” like that of the U.S. has become more crucial than ever before. For more information, visit

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