After a recent appearance at a conference in Philadelphia, I've been doing some consulting for utilities in the mid-west who are interested in attracting large data center development in their service areas.
This is a new area for me, outside of the majority of work I do regarding energy efficiency program development and delivery, but really smack dab in the middle of the data center and utility industry nexus.
What I've helped these utilities grasp is the industry trends that are driving the development of utility-scale data centers, and what the operators of these facilites are looking for from utilities.
I also offer guidance on strategies for attracting the interest of these developers, including how to accurately portray your rates now and into the future, what to say about power availability and time to serve, positioning the carbon footprint of your generation mix, and how to offer siting guidance.
There is no question that data centers are going wherever there is cheap, and hopefully relatively clean, power, but a handful of utilities (four by my count) are doing an exemplary job of preparing to answer the questions that developers need answers for when seeking sites.
I'll weave in more commentary on the industry trends and recommended strategies in future posts. In the meantime, if you are a utility looking to attract data center load as part of your economic development program, and would like to talk, please let me know!