Large-scale computing facilities spurring growth in electricity demand

Published on July 02, 2024 by Liz Carey

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New information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration has found that growth in commercial demand for electricity is concentrated in a handful of states seeing rapid development of large-scale computing facilities like data centers.

Electricity demand has grown the most in Virginia and Texas, EIA said, with the two states adding 14 BkWh and 13 BkWh respectively. Commercial electricity demand in the 10 states with the most demand growth increased by a combined 42 BkWh between 2019 and 2023. That represents 10 percent growth in those states over a four-year period. In contrast, the agency said, demand in the other 40 states decreased 3 percent (28 BkWh) over the same period.

Dominion Energy Virginia, the main utility in Virginia, saw the most electricity demand growth. Virginia opened 94 new data centers since 2019, the agency said, due mainly to access to a densely packed fiber backbone and four subsea fiber cables.

EIA said electricity demand grew in Texas where low electricity costs and cheap land have attracted data centers and cryptocurrency mining operations. In North Dakota, demand increase 37 percent between 2019 and 2023, and is attributed to the establishment of large computing facilities in the state. Western states like Arizona and Utah have also seen growth in commercial electricity demand, the agency said.

Electricity demand fell or has been flat in New York, Illinois, and California, the agency said.