Although DEQ’s proposed variance for data center diesel generator has been pulled, the underlying issue remains: Is this continued boom in data center development sustainable?
PEC works toward energy solutions that emphasize efficiency first, use appropriate technologies for the 21st Century and respect the scenic and historic character of the Piedmont.
Piedmont Environmental Council Statement on Department of Environmental Quality Variance Withdrawal
The Virginia Department of Environmental Equality’s withdrawal of its proposed variance that would have allowed data centers to circumvent Virginia’s air pollution control regulations limiting the use of heavily polluting, industrial sized, emergency diesel generators is a step in the right direction, and although we’d like to think it’s an indication that DEQ recognizes its waiver would be harmful to human health and the environment, the DEQ notice unfortunately makes it clear that the agency has done the right thing for the wrong reason.
PEC Presentation on Data Centers & Potential Reliance on Backup Diesel Generators
On March 28, 2023, The Piedmont Environmental Council hosted a local information session in Loudoun County about a variance being proposed by The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to allow Loudoun data centers to use their backup diesel generators more frequently during the coming summer.
More Data Center News in Warrenton
Much has happened in the weeks since the 4-3 Warrenton Town Council vote to approve the Amazon Data Center Special Use Permit (SUP). I want to give you an update on potential permit violations on the property and share concerns about proposals to build more data centers in Town.
Update on DEQ’s air quality variance for data centers
The variance would allow backup diesel generators to run more frequently this coming summer.
March 23: Public Hearing on Wilderness Crossing
It is critically important that County decisionmakers hear from you before they vote on this impactful proposal.
Data Centers, Diesel Generators and Air Quality – PEC Web Map
PEC requested the air permits for all of the approximately hundred data center facilities covered under the proposed DEQ variance, including the number of commercial generators per facility. We determined that there are 4,632 commercial diesel generators in total and that these generators have a total capacity of 11.1 gigawatts of power. Our web map displays the data centers locations, as well as nearby schools, nursing homes and low income communities.
Take Action: The Air We Breathe Is at Risk
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is considering adopting a variance that would allow the data center industry to run backup diesel generators for longer and more frequent periods of time from March to July – allowing them to circumvent Virginia’s air pollution control laws that limit dangerous pollutants and emissions.
Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Air Quality in Jeopardy
The VA Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking comment on an order that will temporarily allow data centers in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties to operate their generators for longer and more frequent periods of time due to projected grid instability issues during peak summer energy usage.
4-3 vote to approve Amazon’s Warrenton data center
Thank you to all who came to speak out against the Amazon data center proposal in Warrenton at last night’s public hearing.