PEC Presentation on Planning for the Digital Age

In August, PEC’s Director of Land Use Julie Bolthouse presented “Planning for the Digital Age” to the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The presentation covers trends in data center development, forecasts for energy demand in Virginia, and land use impacts and externalities of data center development, such as transmission lines, substations, and energy generation facilities. Recommendations to planners include:

  • proactive collaboration with the local utility on data center planning, and;
  • establishing (1) clear policies that minimize land speculation, (2) zoning language and conditions to help mitigate impacts on communities and the environment, and (3) practices that can help maintain public trust.