Turned on to a towering $20B in infrastructure rebuilds

Dec 01, 2008 | 08:22 AM |

Power-transmission infrastructure expenditures have risen steadily over the past six years, and are on course to post a double-digit gain this year as surging demand fires the need for additional capacity.

"We are in the midst of a transmission infrastructure build-out in the United States, and that build-out is expanding," said Edison Electric Institute (EEI) spokesman Jim Owen. The build-out includes steel-intensive transmission towers as well as transmission lines and substations.

Through 1999 or 2000 there was "considerable disinterest" on the part of utilities to invest in transmission infrastructure, he said. "But since then they have been making numerous moves to substantially increase their investment, both to upgrade existing infrastructure and to build new transmission lines and towers."

Investments in transmission infrastructure by investor-owned utilities—comprising about 70 percent of the U.S. power utilities industry—totaled $7.75 billion last year, up 10.9 percent from $6.99 billion in 2006 and more than double the $3.66 billion invested in 2001, according to the EEI, a Washington-based trade association representing utility companies. Investments are expected to jump to $8.76 billion this year, $9.62 billion in 2009 and $10.23 billion in 2010.....

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