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Loudoun Community Meeting: Data Centers & Diesel Generators

March 28, 2023 @ 6:00 pm 7:30 pm

Join PEC for an informational session to learn about the power usage of local data centers, the generators they operate in and around the Loudoun community, and the anticipated air quality variance likely to be issued by the Department of Environmental Quality for this summer.

Loudoun County is the data center capital of the world, hosting 70% of the world’s internet traffic in Ashburn’s Data Center Alley. With these data centers come over 4,000 commercial-sized on-site diesel generators, utilized for back-up power when the grid experiences high stress, such as in the summer months.

Diesel generators emit relatively high levels of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and sulfur, all of which have environmental and human health implications.

Because data centers have been proliferating rapidly in the past few years, Dominion Energy has struggled to meet the massive electricity transmission needs. Just last year it announced it will be unable to provide enough electricity to data centers in Loudoun County through at least 2025.

In response, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is proposing an order and local variance to allow data centers in Loudoun to operate their generators more frequently and for longer durations through July 2023.

This order is not only short-sighted in addressing the grid constraints, but it has the potential to do real damage. Many of our schools, sports fields, playgrounds and homes are located near data center complexes, and there is real potential for localized air pollution and regional greenhouse emissions with the increased use of these diesel generators. Air pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter increase the amount and seriousness of lung and heart disease and other health problems, particularly for children, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions (asthma, pregnancy, COPD, etc.).

Location: Ashburn Library – Meeting Room C
43316 Hay Road
Ashburn, VA 20147

RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/loudoun-community-meeting-data-centers-diesel-generators-tickets-593136375867