Northwest Power Demand Could Surge as Data Centers, Transportation Electrification Ramps Up

New estimates project a steady increase in electricity demand due to population growth, data centers, and the shift to electric power in homes, buildings, and transportation.

1 minute read

May 17, 2024, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state.

The Grand Coulee Dam in Washington is the largest hydropower producer in the United States. | Nadia / Adobe Stock

Projected electricity demand in the U.S. Northwest will likely grow by 30 percent in the next decade, a growth rate faster than previously expected, writes Alex Baumhardt in Governing.

The increased demand is in part due to the large number of data centers being built in the region as well as greater demand for electric home appliances, buildings, and transportation, according to a report from the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee. “Oregon’s data center market is the fifth largest in the nation, according to Chicago-based commercial real estate group Cushman & Wakefield. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and X, formerly named Twitter, have massive data centers in eastern Oregon as well as in The Dalles, Hillsboro and Prineville that require enormous amounts of energy to operate.”

Demand for electricity to charge electric vehicles is expected to make up roughly 4 percent of electricity demand in the West by 2034. “Population is also expected to influence demand, with some areas seeing growth and others a drop, and changes in building code laws and energy efficiency mandated by local and state governments will also affect demand, the report said.”

“Members of the utilities committee recommended that regional energy departments collaborate on expanding electrical grids and transmission capabilities across the West to accommodate these changes,” Baumhardt adds.

Thursday, May 9, 2024 in Governing

Three colorful, large beachfront homes, one khaki, one blue, and one yellow, with a small dune in front and flat sand in foreground.

Florida Homeowners 'Nope Out' of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

The U.S. Corps of Engineers and Redington Shores, Florida are at a standstill: The Corps won’t spend public money to restore private beaches, and homeowners are refusing to grant public access to the beaches behind their home in return for federal assistance.

June 7, 2024 - Grist

Multistory apartment building under construction.

New Tennessee Law Allows No-Cost Incentives for Affordable Housing

Local governments in the Volunteer State can now offer developers incentives like increased density, lower parking requirements, and priority permitting for affordable housing projects.

June 10, 2024 - Nooga Today

Pumping Gas

10 States Where the Gas Tax Is Highest

As the gap between gas tax revenue and transportation funding needs widen across the country, the funding mechanism is drawing increased scrutiny from both public officials and consumers.

June 9, 2024 - The Ascent

Concrete walkway with landscaping, decorative tiles, and picnic tables in a Los Angeles County park.

Wish Granted: Former Brownfield Transformed to New Park

Wishing Tree Park in West Carson, California officially opened last month, replacing a brownfield site with a much-needed green space for recreation and respite.

June 14 - Urbanize LA

"No right turn on red" and "Turning vehicles yield to pedestrians" sign.

The Tide is Turning on Right Turns on Red

The policy, which stems from the gas embargo of the 1970s, makes intersections more dangerous for pedestrians.

June 14 - NPR

Thick green forest on edge of lake in Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville Begins Process to Clean Superfund Site

A public forest is home to dozens of barrels that have been leaking toxic materials for decades.

June 14 - Inside Climate News

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.