The largest cloud computing node in the USA is being built in northern Virginia. But it is now facing a huge problem: There is simply not enough power capacity in the region to meet all the traffic and energy needs.
Northern Virginia DC project: power problems
The largest cloud data center node in the country is now expected to be built in the U.S. state by 2026 due to expected delays in the Northern Virginia DC Project. But its launch could now be delayed by an energy supply bottleneck. That would also have far-reaching consequences for global traffic, as about 70 percent of the world’s Internet traffic already flows through Loudoun County.
As reported by The Register magazine, citing an investor conference held by the Digital Realty Trust responsible, there is simply not enough capacity in the energy supply in the medium term to actually be able to realize the large-scale project.
As the transcript of the call (via fool.com) indicates, Dominion Energy, the energy provider responsible for the region, had only recently informed its key customers that there was a potential bottleneck in the eastern part of Loudoun County that would “delay deliveries until 2026”.
The U.S. county has been considered one of the world’s most important data and Internet hubs for several decades. The county’s so-called “Data Center Alley” has according to its own statement “the world’s highest concentration of data centers, with more than 25 million square miles currently in operation and several million more in planning or development.”
Power problems could have far-reaching consequences
Andy Power, president and CFO of both responsible real estate investment firm Digital Realty, described the power supply problems as brand-new and recent findings. A corresponding delay of several years could be associated with enormous costs.
Even if the actual generation of energy is not affected by the bottlenecks, this would have an impact on the planned projects for new data centers within the region, some of which would be set back by several years.
It’s also conceivable that some cloud data center node projects could move to neighboring Prince William County or other regions. Here, it is unclear what the situation would be with power issues in those counties, he said. However, at least in the case of the former, the same power provider is responsible, so this would obviously not solve the problem.
Energy and power are of course always an important topic, not only with regard to cloud and Internet technology. In this country, several German power suppliers were recently affected by hacker attacks, whose trace leads to Russia. In the USA, power generation via the Internet is also currently being tested. Satellites transmit energy from space to Earth using microwaves. This is just one approach to getting to grips with the increased demand for energy.