Resources from the Charlottesville Community Meeting on Energy Infrastructure and Data Centers – Feb. 6, 2024

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, we hosted a community meeting on data centers and energy infrastructure in Charlottesville at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. As we begin to bring the message about the climate, air and water quality, conservation, and ratepayer impacts from this industry down from its epicenter in Northern Virginia, it was great to have people come to learn, ask questions and share concerns.

As we presented, the transmission line projects we are seeing across the region are not the renewable energy deliverers many might assume they are, but instead are being drawn to connect power-hungry data centers to existing energy sources – locking us into a reliance on polluting fossil fuels that threaten the strides the Commonwealth has made with the Virginia Clean Economy Act. This is not to mention the global concentration of data centers’ intense disruption to water resources, the direct subsidy ratepayers and taxpayers will be forced to pay, and the host of other community impacts like noise, wildlife habitat loss, and visual disruption through local and national parks.

PEC will also continue to track and inform the public on the state of the unconstrained data center growth causing the lack of capacity and reliability in the grid. Without awareness and public input to insist on changes to data center development, new power lines and substations will keep surprising communities (See below for ways that you can help.) 

Below are a few resources from the event, including a link to the presentation.

Recording of Presentation

Presentation Slides

Input Opportunities: 

  1. General Assembly – there were multiple related bills (helpful to the cause) that were introduced in the current legislative session, but unfortunately, most were pushed for consideration to next year. Learn more and view our advocacy campaign >>
  2. Board of Supervisors meetings 
    • Feb. 21 Sign up to speak about your concerns on data center proliferation during the public comment period at this or future Board meetings. 
    • Key points to make: We see proposed transmission line infrastructure projects in Albemarle County put forward to supply energy specifically to existing and proposed data centers in Culpeper and Lousia. Ask Supervisors how the County will address the siting and design of potential for data centers in the County and how the County will address potential adverse impacts.

Other resources

We encourage you to talk to your friends, family and neighbors about data centers and the energy infrastructure that is being built to support them and to pass along the information we’ve included here. Once PJM (regional transmission organization) submits a transmission line and substation expansion project for approval to the SCC (Virginia State Corporation Commission) and the SCC opens its process for public comment sometime this year, your engagement will be critical. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about that process.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or my colleagues Rob McGinnis ( and Julie Bolthouse ( if you have any questions. Since PEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, free and informative events like this recent community meeting are only possible with the support of people like you. Please give generously to PEC to facilitate ongoing community outreach, and push for more rational energy policy going forward.


Faith Schweikert
Communications & Policy Fellow
The Piedmont Environmental Council