he world's economy — and the nation's — depends on information, available on an unlimited basis all the time. And no component of the information-based economy is more important than the data center — the computing, storage and telecommunications hubs that keep the information available on demand, around the clock. These operations have exacting requirements: high degrees of energy reliability, superior levels of customer service, plus competitive electricity prices likely to remain stable in the future. For data center operators, Virginia — and particularly Dominion Virginia Power's service area, covering much of the Commonwealth — offer a climate where these expectations can be met and exceeded.
For more than a century, Dominion has delivered reliable electric power to our customers, supporting proper operation of electronic equipment and industrial processes. Companies that depend on reliable, low-cost electric power have consistently selected Virginia and created one of the most significant concentrations of data centers in the nation. Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Digital Realty Trust, Equinix, DuPont Fabros, RagingWire, Sabey and many others have selected Virginia for their East Coast and global operations.
Dominion's newly created Data Center Services group focuses on getting data centers up and running quickly and reliably. The Dominion Data Center Services team understands that our customers need a utility that can execute a project in a timely manner. The company's streamlined connection process makes partnering with Dominion an easy choice. With half of the United States internet traffic running through Dominion's service territory, our expertise is proven. Data center customers are attracted to our service area for a suite of reasons: reasonable rates, a balanced fuel mix, reliable service, a highly educated workforce, and numerous fiber networks and fiber providers. Dominion's competitive rates — more than 30% below the national average and among the lowest on the East Coast, are instrumental in the site selection decision. Dominion's balanced portfolio of generating units — including nuclear, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric and biomass, with wind under development — helps mitigate price volatility and will work to keep prices competitive over time.
Committed to Sustainable Customer Solutions
Dominion is reducing its environmental footprint and has already spent more than $3 billion to improve the environmental performance of our generating facilities. These investments ensure compliance with new environmental regulations and help minimize their impact on future electric rates. Dominion's generating fleet is also widely recognized for its low carbon intensity — and in fact ranks among the lowest one-third of all utilities in terms of this important environmental measurement. (Carbon intensity refers to the average amount of carbon emissions released for each megawatt-hour of electricity produced.)
For Dominion, reliability is paramount — whether we are serving a large data center, a distribution facility or a commercial end-user. A recent industry study indicated that Dominion is a leader in electric transmission reliability with one of the lowest annual sustained outage rates. The company's power quality and reliability team is available to assist customers with specific needs, including analysis of requirements, during the site selection process.
Strong Business Environment
Virginia is second to none in providing a business environment that allows companies to set up operations quickly and efficiently. Virginia is consistently ranked as one of the most pro-business states by numerous rating organizations such as CNBC, Forbes, and Pollina Corporate Real Estate. A business-friendly regulatory structure, low operating costs, and access to the highest concentration of technology workers in the United States make Virginia the obvious choice for companies considering relocation or expansion of facilities. Virginia's tax exemptions and other incentives for data centers and other capital-intensive businesses allow companies to reduce their bottom line and compete in the global landscape.
Bottom Line: A Good Place to do Business
For data centers and other companies that are part of the technology-driven economy, Virginia is unsurpassed as a good place to do business. And Dominion's service area — including about two-thirds of the commonwealth — offers many benefits: superior customer service and reliability, competitive rates, a commitment to sustainable solutions and environmental protection, and access to extensive fiber networks and a skilled workforce.
With these advantages, it is no surprise that Virginia is host to one of the largest concentrations of data centers in the nation. And with these advantages, the trend should continue, as the technology industry assesses its options for expansion.
ortune 500 companies such as John Deere World Headquarters and the US Army alike rely on the fast, reliable fiber optic network in the Quad Cities. Our high-speed ringed fiber optic cables stretch from the Quad Cities to Chicago, IL to Denver, CO, with additional dark fiber connectivity for future capacity needs, making the Quad Cities an ideal location for back-up or redundant services.
The Quad Cities, a four-county region in Iowa and Illinois, is located where Interstate 80 crosses the Mississippi River — about three hours directly west of Chicago. More than 37 million people are located within a 300-mile radius of the Quad Cities — almost 13% of the nation's population. As such, the Quad Cities is the largest 300-mile market west of Chicago.
"When our company decided to expand its product offering, we needed a new location to grow. Because our current fiber optic assets extended across four states, our expansion could have been located anywhere from Denver to as far east as Chicago," said Scott Rubins, president and CEO, Geneseo Communications. "As with any real estate based expansion, location was the key to success. The company previewed many locations, including Chicago and Denver, and decided on the Quad Cities region for three main reasons. First, the overall cost to do business was 30%-40% less. This would provide a significant savings to our customers, which will ultimately improve our profitability. Second, the willingness for the area's local elected officials to work with me on a few key areas that needed improvement. Third, the quality of workmanship and value local contractors provide and the ease in working with them to get our project done."
Companies in the Quad Cities hold a competitive edge, having ready access to other major markets, but without the high cost of being located in a big city. MidAmerican Energy Company, for example, provides redundant dual feed uninterrupted service at 40% less than the national average.
What's more, we have the workforce to fulfill employer needs. A network of more than 40 colleges and universities within a 90-mile radius of the Quad Cities pump 33,000 college graduates into the labor force each year.
These strengths, coupled with high quality of life factors including short commute times, affordable housing, a nationally recognized riverfront and quality healthcare and education, make the Quad Cities a preferred place to run a business, work and live.