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Williams discusses how natural gas is powering AI and EV innovation

Read Time: 2 mins

Williams discusses the accelerating demand for energy, driven by large data centers, artificial intelligence, and electric vehicles, is propelling the need for natural gas to unprecedented levels. Williams president and CEO Alan Armstrong recently addressed industry analysts, emphasizing the critical role of natural gas in meeting the surging baseload capacity and supporting renewable energy sources.

According to Armstrong, the growth in electricity demand is three times faster per year in this decade compared to previous decades, primarily due to the rise in electric vehicles and the emergence of new, large-load data centers. He projected that data center loads could reach up to 30 gigawatts by 2030, signifying a significant shift for both the country and the natural gas market.

The rapid innovation in artificial intelligence is a major driver behind the soaring demand, leading to the construction of large computing infrastructure warehouses that require significantly more power than traditional data centers. The proliferation of crypto mining activities is also contributing to data center growth and putting additional pressure on the existing grid infrastructure.

Several projections from Williams’ largest customers highlight the magnitude of this demand surge:

  • Georgia Power’s load growth projections are 17 times higher than forecasted in 2022, necessitating a mix of energy sources, including additional gas-powered generation.
  • Duke Energy’s report indicates that North Carolina and South Carolina are experiencing eight times the load growth projected two years ago, requiring substantial investment in power plants to meet the expected demand.
  • Dominion Energy forecasts a 2.5 times increase in power load needs from new data centers in Virginia over the next decade, a state already hosting more than 35 percent of all hyperscale data centers worldwide.

The continuous operation of data center buildings necessitates higher heating and cooling requirements, further contributing to the demand for natural gas. Natural gas plays a vital role in ensuring the resilience of data centers by providing reliable baseload power and quick backup power compared to intermittent sources like solar and wind.

Armstrong highlighted the expansion of Williams’ infrastructure, particularly along the Transco system, to meet peak demand and support growth in these areas. He emphasized the significant need for natural gas in power generation and affirmed Williams’ commitment to fulfilling this demand.

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