Dominion Virginia Power has certified a 119-acre site in the West Creek office park in eastern Goochland County as a potential location for a data center.

“This reduces the time and effort required by data center companies and other like facilities to short-list sites in their selection process,” said Charles Donato, director of economic development for Dominion Resources Inc., the power company’s parent firm.

Only locations in the company’s service area with key characteristics validated by the Timmons Group engineering firm can qualify for its data center site certification, Dominion Virginia Power said.

The Richmond-based utility would not comment on possible candidate businesses for the West Creek location.

Timmons Group, a Chesterfield County-based engineering consulting firm, determined the site has the appropriate space, topography and geology, fiber-network access, electric service, water and sewer service and transportation connections, the utility said in its announcement. Risks from natural and man-made disasters are considered low, the company said.

“These factors, and especially highly reliable, low-cost electric service, are essential for companies in the process of siting and developing data centers,” said Paul Koonce, Dominion Virginia Power’s CEO. “Virginia is one of the most active data center markets in the nation because we meet these requirements exceptionally well. In fact, there are already dozens of data centers in Virginia, and 70 percent of the Internet traffic in the U.S. runs through our backyard.”

Dominion Virginia Power’s announcement of its verification of the West Creek site raises the profile of the utility’s 18-month-old Data Center Site Certification program.

“This is the first time we’ve ever published this,” Donato said. “This does mark a new era in the visibility of programs that we’re championing.”

Pruitt Associates and the Riverstone Group LLC own the West Creek business park, located off state Route 288 near Patterson Avenue. A large Capital One operations center and CarMax’s headquarters are in West Creek.

Data centers are large facilities housing computers, servers, telecommunications and storage equipment, and systems to backup and protect data, power and cooling systems.

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Such facilities are attractive economic development prospects, adding to a locality’s tax base, providing jobs and attracting other businesses, while putting relatively little stress on local public services.

“We applaud our partners at Dominion for implementing this robust certification program, accelerating marketability of this and other sites that, in turn, significantly enhances Virginia’s competitiveness to attract additional data centers,” said Martin Briley, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s president and CEO, in a statement.

Sites already certified under the utility’s program include: Watkins Centre and Meadowville Technology Park in Chesterfield County; White Oak Technology Park in Henrico County; Hillcrest Industrial Park and Roanoke River Regional Business Park in Mecklenburg County; and Low Moor Mine Site in Alleghany County.

Sixty-five data centers occupying more than 6 million square feet already are in Dominion Virginia Power’s service area, many of them in Northern Virginia. Data centers account for about 2 percent of the utility’s electricity sales.

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