Dominion Warns of Power Crunch for New Ashburn Data Centers

Dominion Energy has warned it may not be able to serve new data center projects in Ashburn, facing challenges delivering that electricity along high-voltage lines.

That could delay new data centers coming online by years, with millions or billions of dollars already invested in new projects.

Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer said his office is working to understand what happened.

“We’ve been working closely with the industry and the power company over the past couple of weeks to better understand the challenges around power delivery to our data center companies that Dominion has recently brought forward,” Rizer said. “The discussion is in its early stages, but we are monitoring the situation closely and are working to assess the impact this might have on our business community and how it might impact future growth.”

Data Center Coalition President Josh Levi said the industry is also still trying to gather more information about both the problem’s cause—and its impacts.

“Access to reliable energy has been a critical factor in the data center industry’s growth in Northern Virginia and Dominion has historically been an important industry partner. The Data Center Coalition and its members are committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to determine a solution that ensures continued energy reliability for this critically important business sector as it grows to meet increasing demand for cloud and digital solutions from a wide range of customers,” Levi said in a written statement.

And in an interview he said the news casts doubt on that planning—”this definitely raised a lot of questions about what this is going to look like going forward.”

Power limitations in the world’s largest data center market could have impacts on more than the data centers and their customers. According to the Data Center Coalition, in 2021, data centers directly and indirectly supported more than 16,000 jobs in Loudoun. They also form a major leg of Loudoun’s tax base, estimated to bring in $575 million in local tax revenue in fiscal year 2022.

Levi said the Data Center Coalition is in proactively engaging with Dominion and other stakeholders to gather more information.

“The data center industry has grown substantially in Northern Virginia in recent years, and we’ve made significant investments to meet the growing demand for electricity. That growth is now accelerating, which is resulting in transmission constraints in a pocket of eastern Loudon County that primarily serves large customers,” stated Dominion Media Relations Manager Aaron Ruby. “The constraints will not impact residential or small business customers. We are working expeditiously with the industry, government and other stakeholders to alleviate the constraints. We’re committed to pursuing solutions that support our customers and the continued growth of the region.”

This article was updated July 29 at 11:14 a.m. with comment from Dominion.

7 thoughts on “Dominion Warns of Power Crunch for New Ashburn Data Centers

  • 2022-07-28 at 3:26 pm

    Great. We will become a wasteland of unused white elephant data center buildings, once these companies go elsewhere that can handle the power needs. Unacceptable given that the plan for the county has been continued data center growth.

  • 2022-07-28 at 3:29 pm

    We’re all getting carried away with reliance on the Internet. If my service is down for just a few hours, I go bonkers. That’s how addicted I am to the computer & smartphone. But I can remember a time when I did quite well without the Internet. Sometimes I long for those days. Life was so much simpler. Hey — If the data centers get delayed in their development, so be it.

  • 2022-07-28 at 5:04 pm

    We’re going backwards. Every aspect you observe, things aren’t quite right. And it’s all on purpose.

  • 2022-07-29 at 7:50 am

    SIMPLE! Power companies are profit regulated on a return on net assets basis. Dominion (in my opinion) is negotiating for better access to northern Virginia to build capacity by pressuring tax hungry politicians to support power generation closer to population centers. Is Ashburn ready for a new power plant? How about a dam for the Potomac River? Turbines on the blue ridge or along the Greenway? After all these are green aren’t they? 🙂

  • 2022-07-29 at 10:35 am

    It is so painful to read, “estimated to bring in $575 million in local tax revenue in fiscal year 2022” and to know that this extra money has not helped the Loudoun community one bit. The Board of Supervisors has piddled all that money away and we taxpayers didn’t get one ounce of relief. We STILL have the highest property taxes in Virginia! Our local government just sucks so bad.

  • 2022-07-31 at 3:00 pm

    I agree we don’t get many improvements in our quality of life as our political “leaders” keep saying yes to over-development and energy-hog eyesore data centers. I don’t measure success in government solely by seeing my taxes go down…sure, that’s great but what if everything else about life in Loudoun gets ever more horrible: more traffic, more lines, more big ugly data centers, more homeless, and on and on.

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