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Data Centers Hiding In 'Spy Country' Northern Virginia Will Need Reactor's Worth Of Powe

•, by Tyler Durden

The area is known as "Data Center Alley" because it's home to the world's largest concentration of data centers. Some call the area 'spy country' because of the number of data centers used by the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies. 

Given the exponential proliferation of smartphones, streaming services, smart devices, and now generative artificial intelligence, the power demanded by data centers in Northern Virginia will need nuclear reactors worth of power, if not much more, according to utility Dominion Energy.

On Thursday, Chief Executive Officer Bob Blue told investors on a company earnings call that "economic growth, electrification, and accelerating data center expansion" is boosting power demand across the area. 

Blue said, "The data center industry has grown substantially in northern Virginia in recent years," noting, "We've connected 94 data centers with over 4 gigawatts of capacity over the last approximately five years." 

Blue expects his utility company to connect another 15 data centers to the local power grid this year. 

He said, "This growth has accelerated in orders of magnitude, driven by one, the number of data centers requesting to be connected to our system, two, the size of each facility, and three, the acceleration of each facility's ramp scheduled to reach full capacity." 

He provided some context about rising power demand, pointing out:

"A single data center typically had a demand of 30 megawatts or greater. However, we're now receiving individual requests for demand of 60 to 90 megawatts or greater, and it hasn't stopped there. We get regular requests to support larger data center campuses that include multiple buildings and require total capacity ranging from 300 megawatts to as many as several gigawatts."