During the late 1990's, a New York based environmental group succeeded in having a law enacted in New York State to forbid the future importation of electric power generated at any new mega-hydroelectric dams that may be built in Quebec. Canadian generated hydroelectric power has been imported into the American Northeast for many years. Suitable sites still exist in Eastern Canada where new mega-hydroelectric power dams may be built. A recent announcement from New York City suggested that the metropolis could face possible future shortage of electric power. Environmentalists want electricity to be generated from clean, renewable sources such as small hydro, solar power, bird-friendly wind power, biomass, geothermal energy and energy from the ocean.
Several commentators who have published articles at Energy Pulse have pointed out that the combination of solar power, geothermal energy, ocean power and wind energy would only provide a very small percentage of America's overall demand for electric power. Along with a proliferation of small hydroelectric projects, submersible turbines that generate electric power from ocean currents could be installed in the outlet of Lake Michigan and in numerous fast-flowing streams across America. Most of these projects would be cancelled due to environmental opposition and the few that will be developed to fruition would barely meet America's projected demand for electric power.
That demand for electric power could increase in the future if there is widespread market acceptance of electrically rechargeable vehicles. Such vehicles would result from advances that are being made in lithium-ion and lithium-manganese battery technology, in cryogenic (nitrogen) and pneumatic (compressed air) energy technology, in flywheel technology as well as in hydrogen fuel cell technology. The energy storage densities, life expectancy and recharge duration of many of these technologies is improving to a point where future electrically rechargeable vehicles could become cost-competitive with their hydrocarbon-powered counterparts. Sustained high oil prices would also contribute to a future shift to electrically rechargeable vehicles.
The off-peak period that power stations experience between midnight to 6:00AM may cease to exist. Power would likely be generated during this period in the future to recharge electrically rechargeable vehicles and also mega-storage systems such as high-altitude hydraulic tanks, flow batteries and underground pneumatic storage systems that use emptied salt domes as pressure vessels to supply a higher daytime demand. The peaks of salt domes are usually found some 3000-ft below ground surface and measure up to 5000-ft diameter by up to 30,000-ft in height. Stored energy in these giant tanks could supply energy to operate electric transit systems (light rail, streetcar, subway, trolleybus and commuter rail) during peak periods. Owners of rapidly rechargeable electric vehicles (15 to 25-minutes) would likely recharge their vehicles during daylight hours and purchase electric power from stationary energy storage installations. The transportation sector may likely increase America's future demand for electric power.
America's future electrical energy demand may not be met from within domestic borders. More electricity will have to be imported in the future from America's friendly neighbors. At present, Canada (Quebec and Manitoba) does supply electric power to parts of north-central and northeastern America and could supply more power except for opposition from American animal rights activists and environmentalists who seek to preserve the habitat of wildlife living in Canadian valleys. There is also opposition from these groups within America to the types of power stations that may be built domestically and their locations. Their opposition could ultimately result in America having to import more electric power in the future from friendly neighboring countries. Some neighboring countries would welcome additional sources of tax revenue and may therefore be willing to allow American companies to build new power stations within their jurisdictions.
California would likely have an increased future demand for electric power and restrictions on where new power stations may be built could provide Mexico with possible economic development opportunities. New power stations that supply the southwestern and south central USA could be built in northeastern and northwestern Mexico. Undersea natural gas deposits are believed to exist off the Baja California West Coast, under the Gulf of California (the Sea of Cortez) and under the southwest region of the Gulf of Mexico. Mexican authorities may be open to discussions and negotiations with American companies to allow for natural gas-fired and/or nuclear power stations to be built in the aforementioned regions of Mexico. These power stations could send power into both the Mexican and American power grids or only into the American grid. In the latter case, the power station could be remotely monitored and controlled from a location inside America. This possibility results from telecommunications grade fibre-optic lines now being included as an option in the centre cable of some long-distance power transmission lines.
Undersea natural gas deposits are also believed to exist off the Florida coast in the region of the Bimini Islands and the Bahama Islands. Several of these islands are desolate and could accommodate a future offshore power station. Advances in high-voltage undersea power cable technology can include fiber-optic lines in the centre cable and allow offshore power stations to be remotely operated from an American location while power is sent into the American grid. Bahamian authorities may willing to discuss the possibility of new power stations (natural gas and/or nuclear) that generate power for export being built within their jurisdiction in the future. Some of the electric power may be distributed to other nearby islands to meet local demand.
Bahamian authorities may be open to discussions that involve undersea natural gas within their jurisdiction being processed into synthetic diesel fuel at a Bahamian or Bimini location before being exported into Caribbean and American markets. Power stations on desolate islands (nuclear and/or natural gas) that generate electric power for export and synthetic fuel processing facilities that operate within Bahamian territory could generate enough future tax revenues for Bahamian authorities to consider new future energy development initiatives within their jurisdiction. Environmentalist and other activists who oppose such initiatives inside the USA will ultimately send those opportunities to nearby locations that are outside American borders.