Northern Virginia: Dominion Energy announces update about resuming connection in Loudoun County

Oct 03, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Dominion Energy has announced that some new data centers in Loudoun County, home to the world's largest concentration of data centers, will be reconnected, following concerns that transmission infrastructure restraints would halt new additions. 

Back in July, the energy utility had said that new facilities could not be guaranteed power, however, now, it has said that while some projects will be delayed for as many as four years, it is working with customers to secure incremental capacity for others. Commenting on this, Aaron Ruby, media relations manager for Dominion Energy, said: "After completing a comprehensive analysis of our system and accelerating several near-term projects, we've been able to lift the temporary pause and resume new data center service connections on an incremental basis. We've met with each of the impacted customers to discuss our plans and how we will serve their individual facilities." Dominion didn't, however, specify what percentage of the requested power would be available for new connections.

However, while some have received this news as a positive sign of progress, Buddy Rizer, executive director of Loudoun County's Department of Economic Development, has warned that the majority of new projects will face unexpected "serious power delivery issues" until 2026. This is something that was echoed in a report from the Transportation and Land Use Committee, which was shared at a meeting of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors. It outlined: "While Dominion Energy and the data center industry continue to work to understand the impact of this new restriction, early projections indicate most of the current construction and planned data center development will receive a significantly reduced allocation of the anticipated power through January of 2026."

This uncertainty going forward could impact decisions around data center development and see nearby sub-markets like Leesburg, Prince William County, and Frederick County in Maryland, take more share of data center projects. That said, Dominion is also accelerating work on a 500kV transmission line in Southern Loudoun County, projected to be completed in 2026, which would help resolve the situation. This effort to address the issue is in addition to Dominion installing a new set of series reactors on an existing 230 kV transmission line and reconductoring three existing 230 kV transmission lines.