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Clicking Clean Virginia The Dirty Energy Powering Data Center Alley

Clicking Clean Virginia The Dirty Energy Powering Data Center Alley

Full Title: Clicking Clean Virginia The Dirty Energy Powering Data Center Alley
Author(s): Gary Cook and Elizabeth Jardim
Publisher(s): Greenpeace
Publication Date: February 1, 2019
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

San Francisco and “Silicon Valley” may first come to mind when imagining the home of big internet companies, but the physical beating heart of the internet in fact lies on the East Coast, in what has become known as “Data Center Alley” in Northern Virginia. Located just outside Washington, D.C., Data Center Alley is already home to the world’s highest concentration of data centers in the world and is dramatically expanding. Loudoun County Virginia, the center of Data Center Alley, claims 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through its borders.

Data centers serve as factories of the information age; their 24/7 operation makes online browsing, streaming and communication possible, but delivering all this data requires a tremendous amount of electricity. The explosive demand of internet-based platforms and services has fueled a dramatic expansion in both the size and number of data centers, making them collectively one of the largest sources of new electricity demand globally. While the internet itself has a global reach, this rapid expansion in data centers has not been evenly distributed, but instead highly concentrated, causing a significant increase in local electricity demand. Given the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible to combat the most extreme consequences of climate change, the source of electricity deployed by the local utility in these data center hotspots takes on global significance.

All statements and/or propositions in discussion prompts are meant exclusively to stimulate discussion and do not represent the views of, its Partners, Topic Directors or Experts, nor of any individual or organization. Comments by and opinions of Expert participants are their own.

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