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

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