Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Environmental Quality
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2/27/23  3:19 am
Commenter: Barbara Strittmatter

Yes to Data Center Variance

Do those posting against a temporary variance for data centers during times of excessive strain on the power grid realize how detrimental a data center outage could be? Rescue operations during floods, fires, and earthquakes; businesses, hospitals, schools, banks, email, home schooling, posting to this site, and on and on require data centers. Everyone who uses a computer, cloud storage, a smart phone, or a car with a chip uses data centers. If data centers were to shut down, it would cause a national crisis.  

In addition to data centers, we have many other industries that rely on emergency generators. Are we going to impose the same restrictive regulations on government buildings, hospitals, and businesses?  As with all of these facilities, the use of generators is required on an emergency basis for the continuity of services.  

Under the variance, it states that data centers would still have to wait for approval feom the DEQ to use backup generators. DEQ would also require them to calculate and report the potential air pollution from the generators. Modern generators equipped with advanced emissions control systems would have little problem with this.

It's not just about protecting our data. The release of strain on the grid by data center backup generators would also help protect residential customers, schools, and essential services from power outages.

I support the order allowing longer use of generators in periods of declared emergency or acute strain on the electric grid.

CommentID: 209118