New Power Plant Construction

As America's power plants become increasingly obsolete, a wave of new power plant construction is underway. The combination of efficiency and stricter environmental requirements has made new power plant construction one of the more complex kinds of construction currently underway today.

By 2011, new power plant construction in the United States will reach more than $50 billion. Much of the new power plant construction will take place in the Rocky Mountain region - including Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming--and the Southwest, including Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

More than half of power plants in the United States today are powered by coal, and a large percentage of new power plant construction will also use this largely available energy source. Coal powered plants have historically released larger amounts of carbon dioxide. In new power plant construction, the plants use "clean coal" technologies. These technologies significantly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released during power conversion.

A significant amount of new power plant construction will be the building of natural gas powered plants. These plants release far less carbon dioxide than normal coal plants, but natural gas has historically been more expensive to use as a power source. With the discovery of new sources of natural gas around the country, the price and availability of natural gas has greatly increased, which has made these kinds of plants far more affordable to build. As a result, more natural gas new power plant construction projects are currently underway, particularly in the southwest and Rocky Mountain areas, where shale gas deposits have been found.

Alternative new power plant construction projects are also beginning to see a spike in building. Interest in nuclear powered new power plant construction is suddenly increasing after more than 30 years of inactivity. Solar and wind powered projects are also starting to enter the design phases, though questions about their consistency and the ability to transmit these energies remain. Though coal and natural gas will likely make up the bulk of new power plant construction projects, a few technological advances could make interest in renewable energy sources as power generators increase.

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