Energy Storage, Commercial, Sourcing Renewables  -  May 17, 2019

Tech giants join to demand increased RE, storage from Dominion

Ten large technology companies joined together to sign a letter demanding that Dominion Energy provide clean energy options for these large electric power users. The companies all operate in the northern Virginia area that is serviced by Dominion. The letter noted that as much as 70% of the world’s internet traffic flows through Virginia data centers.

The letter was signed by Adobe, Akamai Technologies, Apple, AWS, Equinix, Iron Mountain, LinkedIn Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Salesforce, and QTS, and was organized by Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit organization. The letter stated, “Given the significance of our growing and energy-intensive industry in relation to total energy demand in Virginia, companies’ data center energy interests should be taken into account in decisions regarding the future of the region’s energy infrastructure.”

“As data center providers, customers, and colocation service providers with operations in Virginia, we prefer electricity that is generated by clean, renewable energy. We are writing to express concern regarding the re-stated intentions of energy providers to meet our energy demand with expensive fossil fuel projects.”

The letter noted that Dominion’s proposed Integrated Resource Plan fails to take into account the energy preferences of the data center industry by limiting the amount of competitively-procured solar energy, neglecting to consider energy storage as a cost-effective and beneficial energy resource, and continuing to plan for the development of additional natural gas infrastructure.

The companies specify the following issues that should be considered by Dominion Energy: 

  • Companies providing or using data centers want to power our operations with renewable energy resources like wind and solar.
  • Data centers are at the forefront of innovative energy-efficient technologies to reduce the energy burden of our operations.
  • Energy storage technologies are here today and should be integrated into grid planning.

The letter concludes, “Companies providing or using data centers are proud to offer fast, high-quality internet and cloud services, and we are grateful for access to abundant, reliable, low-cost energy that enables us to do so. However, a clean, flexible, and dynamic grid – replete with renewable energy and modern energy technologies – is the way of the future. It is vital that the energy investments being made today are forward-thinking and truly serve the best interest of ratepayers, the economy, and the planet for generations to come."

 

SED's View: Virginia and Dominion Energy specifically is a perfect example of why policy leadership advocating for the interests of large power users is desperately needed. The electric power utility lobby from coast to coast is enormous and has been running roughshod over large power users who are fragmented and unorganized. A unifying force representing the interests of all large power users is essential to support the energy transition. Kudos to Ceres for making an effort. We need much more.

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