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.