Maryland Fixes Backup Power Issue

May 14th, 2024 by · Leave a Comment

According to a release from Quantum Loophole yesterday, Maryland has passed legislation fixing what had been a vexing issue for the data center project. They are talking about the Critical Infrastructure Streamlining Act of 2024, which ‘clarifies the definition and legislative framework around the use of emergency backup power generation’.

That may sound a bit boring, but it refers back to this kerfuffle from last autumn.  Aligned Data Centers had been about to move onto Quantum Loophole’s campus in Frederick MD and build 264MW of hyperscale data center capacity. But the the state’s PUC stepped in and rejected their plans for backup generators, reasoning that so much backup generation capacity amounted to an entire power plant under the laws and regulations on the books of the state. So Aligned had to pull the plug.

Such a limitation was not specific to Aligned either, putting a damper on Quantum Loophole’s whole project. They have been busy re-developing the 2100 acres of land that once held a giant Alcoa facility, building a massive fiber loop for connectivity, and even establishing a nature reserve on the property. The idea has been to complement the data center complexes across the river in northern Virginia, but such a limitation on backup power options would be a problem for builds of hyperscale size.

But the state of Maryland wants this too, so that’s what this legislation was about. They have changed the laws the PUC was bound by to (hopefully) eliminate the problem, establishing a framework to enable automatic approvals of emergency backup power generation. Will hyperscale developers move back in now that the law has changed? Given the amount of money going into AI-focused hyperscale data centers right now I’ll bet it won’t take long.

The governor signed the bill on May 9, and it will go into effect July 1, 2024. 

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Categories: Datacenter · Energy · Government Regulations

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