Letter: Linda Brown, Vienna

Editor: On Feb. 14, Loudoun Now reported on county supervisors’ first Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Policy Makers Series breakfast. I congratulate Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg) for asking Chamber members to also bring conservation voices into their discussions, particularly discussions around the data center industry, its central role in the county government’s finances, and its push for renewable energy.

Data centers in Loudoun County have become a part of life. Loudoun’s “Data Center Alley” is the greatest concentration of data centers in the world. Seventy percent of all Internet traffic passes through Loudoun every day.  

While that’s great economically for Loudoun, the energy required for existing data centers, those under construction, and others approved for Loudoun require the power output of nine coal-fired power plants. That’s enough energy to power more than three million homes! (Green Peace report, Clicking Clean, VA. greenpeace.org/usa/reports/click-clean-virginia/ )

Dominion powers most data centers, but generates little electricity from clean, renewable sources. Data centers have corporate sustainability goals to use 100% renewable sources of energy, so Dominion is falling woefully short. Instead, Dominion is using the data center explosion to justify building the controversial fracked-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline. 

Building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will keep Virginia on fossil fuels for decades to come. According to the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, we have less than 12 years to aggressively address climate change, so we should be increasing clean, renewal sources of energy, not fossil fuels.

Tech giants, including Microsoft, Apple, Amazon Web Services, and Salesforce, want to run their businesses in the most environmentally friendly way. Let’s help them accomplish that goal.

Thank you, Supervisor Umstattd for urging that conservation voices be part of data center discussions. Virginia and Loudoun deserve clean energy solutions.

If you’d like to include your voice: let the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors know that climate change must be addressed when powering data centers; tell Amazon Web Services that you want your cloud to be powered by clean renewables; demand that Dominion Power deliver 21st century clean energy solutions.

Linda Brown, Vienna

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