Cards on the Table: Bringing Data Centers to Maryland

MACo’s Winter Conference, “Eye of the Storm,” will take place on Dec 6-8, 2023, at the Hyatt in Cambridge. Sessions will cover the hot topics of the day – including a panel on data centers and what bringing them to Maryland could mean for county governments and local economies.

Maryland is strongly positioned to be a winner in the next cycle of technology-driven growth in the Eastern United States, because of its many strengths – a very well-educated workforce, excellent proximity to major population centers, and a wealth of local resources that can drive innovation and excellence in cyber fields, bio technology, and related fields. Among the areas of growth lying right ahead is the expansion of data centers as a hub for storage, processing, and communications capacity for countless users. These facilities require a different physical plant and area framing then an “old school” business opportunity, but still could bring dramatic investment and jobs to a hosting community.

Among the tricky components to data center siting are the effects of being a “high energy user” facility: typically a data center needs to not only consume a high level of energy for climate control and system operations, but also needs to maintain a backup power supply to ensure system reliability. With today’s technology, that likely means backup generators on-site, typically powered by diesel fuel. The consideration of that energy infrastructure as a new power supply, even when not intended for regular use, makes for a challenging fit amidst State policies and regulations regarding fossil fuel usage. Further, a data center may require substantial water access for “cooling” purposes, requiring yet another challenging permit approval.

Join MACo for a timely panel discussion on the value proposition for data centers in Maryland, the practical and legal obstacles on the path toward a leadership role there, and the search for common ground in the pursuit of a sensibly balanced policy.

  • Title: Cards on the Table: Bringing Data Centers to Maryland
  • Description: Technology infrastructure is a rising component of commercial growth, across our region and beyond. What would it take for Maryland to rival our neighboring states as hosts for data centers and similar facilities – and who’s holding the cards in this high-stakes competition? This panel will talk through your own local plans, and the many considerations for these specific commercial uses, that frequently require high-energy volume, backup generation capacity, and further considerations.
  • Speakers:
    • The Honorable Jessica Fitzwater, County Executive, Frederick County
    • Kumar Barve, Commissioner, MD Public Service Commission
    • Suzanne Dorsey, Deputy Secretary, Maryland Department of Environment
  • Moderator: The Honorable Steve Hershey, MD State Senate
  • Date/Time: Wednesday, December 6, 2023; 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm