Compiled ByDeborah Austin With ever-increasing energy needs, many American businesses are interested in generating their own electricity, shows a recent survey by RKS Research & Consulting. Seventy-six percent of companies polled -- from a sample of energy-intensive industries -- say their energy use has increased over the last half-decade. Thirty percent carry insurance to protect against power-outage-related business interruptions; 34% have suffered financial losses from power problems. And 34% now say they're interested in generating their own electricity to replace or supplement the supply from their current provider. In fact 51% believe self-generation is the best strategy for meeting their growing electricity needs; fewer than 25% favor energy conservation programs and new power plant construction. Respondents express a preference for outsourced generation solutions rather than buying or leasing their own equipment. Half already own or lease backup generating equipment; nearly a quarter of those are considering expansion or upgrades. RKS, which is headquartered in North Salem, N.Y., is a market research and public opinion polling firm.