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Conn. Lawmakers Pass Bill Requiring Evaluation of the Impact of Data Centers on Grid Reliability

The Connecticut Senate Energy and Technology Committee on March 21 passed a bill that would require the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to evaluate the impact of large data centers on grid reliability.

Under the bill, (Senate Bill 299) introduced by Connecticut State Sen. Norm Needleman, the PURA would need to initiate a related proceeding on or before July 1, 2024, in consultation with the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the regional independent system operator, ISO New England.

NE Edge has unveiled plans to develop a data center in Connecticut that would be powered by electricity provided directly from the adjacent dual-reactor Dominion Millstone Power Station in Waterford, Conn., which is owned by investor-owned Dominion Energy.

In testimony provided for a March 7, 2024 hearing held by the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, Claire Coleman, Connecticut’s Consumer Counsel, said that the OCC supports the legislation.

“OCC’s mission is to ensure ratepayers can rely on a resilient and healthy electric grid. Determining whether our current regional system has the capacity to support such projects, prior to their groundbreaking, is paramount. Particularly given Connecticut’s electrification goals, any decisions to adding additional strain must be made with the most careful consideration,” Coleman said in the testimony.

While OCC is supportive of the proposal, “we seek further clarification from the Committee regarding the definition of ‘large data centers’” of the proposal and “suggest that this be clearly defined in this proposal,” Coleman said.

“It is our understanding that more than one data center is presently being planned for construction without demand or capacity impact analysis and are concerned that data centers could result in increased strain on our electric grid, which would increase costs allocated to all ratepayers.”

The bill must pass the Connecticut Senate and then the Connecticut House by May 8 to become law.




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