Data Centers & Energy Demand

Virginia is undergoing a massive economic, technological, and environmental transformation, all centered around the activities of one industry: data centers.

The explosive growth of the data center industry represents a major challenge to achieving a clean energy future in Virginia. Data center development in Northern Virginia has been accelerating for years, with a higher concentration in Loudoun County than anywhere else in the world. As of late 2022, data centers accounted for 21% of Dominion Energy’s electricity sales [pg 26] in Virginia. In fact, data centers represent the only growing sector [pg 5] of electricity demand in Virginia, and that demand growth is projected to more than double peak load by 2040 [pg 28]. 

Disturbingly, Dominion’s Integrated Resource Plan filed in 2023 points to higher-than-anticipated load growth from data centers as the rationale for leaving in place existing fossil-fuel generation and pursuing an “all of the above” energy strategy moving forward.

screenshot of data center web map

Existing and Proposed Data Centers – A Web Map

How many data centers currently exist in Virginia? How many proposals are in the works? These are very good questions …
Initial Transmission Proposals - PEC Web Map

Initial Transmission Proposals – PEC Web Map

Transmission line proposals to serve the explosive growth of data centers in Virginia over the past few years have begun …

Virginia’s current approach is unsustainable.

The sheer number and scale of Virginia data center proposals and the accumulation of so many data centers in such a relatively small area has led to a severely constrained electric grid and increased reliance on polluting backup diesel generators. As new data centers go in and Dominion Energy builds out the grid to accommodate the likes of Amazon Web Services and others in the industry, local residents and communities are left wondering: who is going to foot the bill and what are the implications for our air quality, climate goals, water resources, health and the environment?

While many data centers make clean energy and sustainability commitments, there is no way to clearly evaluate these claims due to non-disclosure agreements and general secrecy around the industry. What we do know is this: increasingly, the public is being asked to subsidize new transmission infrastructure and compromise on Virginia’s clean energy and conservation goals in order to meet the massive electricity demand caused by one private industry.

aerial view of a huge boxy building next to a 6 lane road

Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission Authorizes Data Center Study

On Dec. 11, 2023, the Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission passed a resolution authorizing a robust study into …
Power Surge: Data center boom leads to expansive transmission proposals

Power Surge: Data center boom leads to expansive transmission proposals

We must address the booming data center growth in our state that is requiring unprecedented expansions of our energy grid …

It’s time to push back and ask tough questions.

Please use this letter to ask your elected officials in the Virginia General Assembly to address data center impacts. View data center legislation from 2024

large boxy data center with cooling equipment on the roof

Tell Congress: Support the Artificial Intelligence Environmental Impacts Act

The human and environmental costs of the data center industry are only predicted to worsen with the rise of cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence applications. That’s why we’re supporting a new congressional bill, the Artificial Intelligence …
Additional Information: Belmont Innovation Campus Rezoning

Additional Information: Belmont Innovation Campus Rezoning

Often, data center rezoning applications that come before the Board of Supervisors are, in fact, not submitted by data center developers like Meta, Amazon Web Services, etc. Rather, many rezonings are at the request of …
Data Center Reform Campaign Coordinator

Data Center Reform Campaign Coordinator

The Piedmont Environmental Council is hiring a Campaign Coordinator to organize and advance advocacy around data centers …
Wednesday’s historic data center denial in Loudoun

Wednesday’s historic data center denial in Loudoun

As you may have seen in the local news, on Wednesday evening the Loudoun Board of Supervisors voted 5-4 to deny the Belmont Innovation Campus rezoning application …
Resources from the Loudoun Virtual Community Meeting on Data Centers and Energy Infrastructure – March 4, 2024

Resources from the Loudoun Virtual Community Meeting on Data Centers and Energy Infrastructure – March 4, 2024

On March 4, 2024 PEC held a virtual community meeting about the explosive growth of data centers in Loudoun County and the surrounding region and the new transmission line projects proposed to meet their energy …
Data Centers in Loudoun: Free Webinar March 4; Critical Public Hearing March 13

Data Centers in Loudoun: Free Webinar March 4; Critical Public Hearing March 13

Loudoun County is known as the “data center capital of the world” for good reason: there are more data centers here than in any other single jurisdiction across the globe …
Data Center Legislation in the 2024 Virginia General Assembly

Data Center Legislation in the 2024 Virginia General Assembly

Numerous pieces of legislation related to data center reform were introduced as part of the 2024 Virginia General Assembly Session. Unfortunately, the majority of the bills were defeated or carried over to the 2025 Virginia …
Three Advocacy Priorities That Need Your Attention

Three Advocacy Priorities That Need Your Attention

Since the General Assembly began its 2024 session, the newly-opened General Assembly office building and the Capitol have seen frenetic activity, day in and day out. Many bills that were introduced in January have now …