PEC Presentation on Data Centers & Potential Reliance on Backup Diesel Generators

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.

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 that would allow Loudoun data centers to use their highly polluting backup diesel generators more frequently during the coming summer.

The presentation by PEC Director of Land Use Julie Bolthouse is available to view and download:

Learn more about data centers and the DEQ variance →