Data centers consume large amounts of electricity and that number is going to grow with the implementation of cloud-computing and increase use of computers in every-day and business life. According to the DOE, they use 10 to 50 times the amount of energy per floor space as regular commercial buildings.
The electric grid offers a dirty way to power data centers. Still, a majority of power in the US comes from fossil fuel plants with low efficiency rates and as much as half of the energy can be lost through transmission.
Microsoft and McKinstry (my former employer) are combining efforts to release a gas-powered data center. This data center will eliminate the inefficiencies in the grid and directly power the data center from natural gas.
Companies such as technology, financial, and many others have data centers that range in size. Utility companies (electrical and gas) would be interested in investing in this as a way to even out their portfolio.
Here is the link from Energy Manager Today:
Here is the DOE’s website on Data Centers: