Resuming progress after 2011’s uncertainty.
In an informal poll of about 300 power industry professionals attending this year’s Power-Gen International event in Las Vegas, about half (47 percent) called 2011 the “Year of Fear.”
That phrase reflects a foreboding sense of uncertainty that many people in the industry have been feeling. From the Fukushima disaster and its repercussions, to the raging battle over new EPA regulations, 2011 was one of the most volatile years on record for the electric power business. And if such factors weren’t unsettling enough, they happened against the backdrop of a struggling economy, the federal budget crisis, a divisive political climate, and growing concerns that the Eurozone might collapse and drag the world into a deep recession.
Now, as the refrains of “Auld Lang Syne” fade away and we get back to work in a new year, it’s natural to wonder whether 2012 will be better or worse than 2011. So far, the general sentiment seems to be cautiously optimistic; in that Power-Gen poll—conducted by contractor Day & Zimmerman—just over half of respondents (55 percent) said they view 2012 as less of a gamble than 2011, and two-thirds say their companies are in growth mode—but that profitability remains a challenge.