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Overland Park, Kan.-based Black & Veatch, an international engineering, consulting and construction company, has announced the findings of its 2007 Strategic Directions in the Electric Utility Industry Survey.

The survey reports on the opinions, activities and future plans of energy companies in the North American power industry and includes the input of nearly 400 energy industry executives.

Service reliability continued to rank as the No. 1 overall concern, while the aging workforce moved up to No. 2 from No. 5 in last year's survey. Environmental issues remained the No. 3 concern, and aging infrastructure declined to No. 4 this year, compared to No. 2 in last year's survey.

According to the survey, approximately 82% of survey respondents believe that global warming is occurring and 44% feel it is caused by human activity. In total, about 36% believe global warming is real and is caused by humans. Approximately 35% of respondents have a significant degree of confidence in the underlying climate change science, compared to 42% who had low confidence in the science last year.

Seventy-two percent of respondents believe that some form of U.S. carbon legislation will be implemented by 2011. This is the same response level as the 2006 survey.

"Given the increased concern expressed by survey respondents over carbon uncertainty, and the heightened awareness of global warming in the media and with the public, one would expect this percentage to increase in our 2007 survey," says Richard Rudden, senior vice president and energy industry lead at Black & Veatch's enterprise management solutions division. "One explanation is that survey respondents may have expected some action in the U.S. Congress on this issue in 2007, which did not occur."

In addition, approximately 29% of survey respondents prefer carbon emissions cap-and-trade regulations, 14% prefer a straight carbon tax, 8% prefer a statutory physical emission restriction, and 49% prefer a combination of the three approaches.


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