The U.S. faces a surge in electricity demand over the coming years and we are woefully unprepared to manage it.

According to reports filed this year with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, grid planners expect nationwide electricity demand to grow 4.7% over the next five years. This drastic update from the 2.6% growth prediction made back in 2022 is emblematic of how quickly demand is growing; predictions are constantly being updated to reflect more accurate realities.

The biggest culprits for projected energy consumption are data centers: physical buildings or facilities that house IT infrastructure. And the U.S. houses 33% of the world’s 8,000 centers.

Data centers are some of the most energy-intensive building types, consuming 10 to 50 times the energy per floor space of a typical commercial office building, or as much power as 80,000 households. Overall energy use from these structures is likely to more than double from 17 GW in 2022 to 35 GW by 2030.

A major factor behind the skyrocketing demand is the rapid innovation in artificial intelligence (AI); the U.S. continues to dominate the market in terms of shares and funding, with last year alone seeing a 63% growth rate. The large warehouses of computing infrastructure utilizing AI require exponentially more power than traditional data centers.

Forecasts indicate that U.S. data centers will consume 6% of the country’s total electricity by 2026, up from 4% in 2022.

All these projections don’t even include the strain that electric vehicles (EVs) will add to the grid as well. This administration wants roughly two-thirds of new car sales to be EVs and thinks we have the capacity to keep them charged.

Under current energy and grid policy structures, we are not in a position to handle the flood of electricity demand that is about to inundate the system.

The Inflation Reduction Act has heavily subsidized the renewable energy industry, with the aim of transitioning to alternative energy sources like wind and solar. Several states have also enacted their own Renewable Portfolio Standards which dictate the amount of energy that should come from renewables. There have already been catastrophic consequences resulting from an overreliance on these intermittent and unreliable sources and from efforts to curb the use of fossil fuels.

Winter Storm Uri left millions without power and several hundred dead because weather-dependent sources failed. Storm Elliot forced several major utilities to implement rolling outages to preserve supply. Coal saved the day by preventing further disruption.

California, with the most ambitious green agenda and utilization of renewables in the country, asked its residents to refrain from charging their cars for fear of running out of electricity; they had just experienced rolling blackouts.

According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), risks of blackouts are increasing across America due to state and federal mandates for carbon-free electricity and “the future resource mix could fail to deliver the necessary supply of electricity under energy-constrained conditions.”

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Kristen Walker is a policy analyst for the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the Institute, visit or follow us on Twitter @ConsumerPal