Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Environmental Quality
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2/28/23  8:52 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Say no to living next to a Daytona 500 of dump trucks!

I oppose granting any exemptions that would permit data centers to run on diesel generators during peak load times.  With minimal 100 foot buffers between data centers and residential areas in Prince William County, the air and noise pollution this would create is not acceptable.

One article states, "Diesel particulate matter emissions from an average industrial diesel generator (~800 hp), operating at an average load of ~300 kW for 1 hour, is equivalent to driving nearly 660 miles in an average heavy-duty diesel truck" (see

The number of generators required to operate one data center varies.  However, even with just 10 given the information above we are talking about the equivalent air pollution of 6,600 heavy duty diesel truck miles for every hour of operation.  Most northern VA residents would not be very happy to learn they are living next door to what amounts to an ongoing Daytona 500 of dump trucks.

Those are numbers for just one hypothetical data center.  It is reported this exemption broadly applies to over 4,500 generators in the region with a rated capacity of up to 11 gigawatts (see,31559)

It is ironic that one of the primary advertised benefits of data centers is redundancy in case of a disaster.  Data centers are designed to continue operations from elsewhere if one area goes down.  If there is truly a strain on the grid, power and data center companies need to come up with better solutions to balance load without relying on emergency diesel generators.

Bristow resident

CommentID: 209241