Supporting Customers

ComEd Celebrates International Data Center Day!

March 20, 2024

Did you know – the cloud that stores your photos, files and the digital content you access every day when surfing the web actually has a physical location?

You’ve probably heard data centers mentioned in the news or in your newsfeed, but did you know that you actually use them every day? That’s right, data centers provide the storage and networks that run your favorite apps, streaming video services, house your digital documents, and more – and they are a key factor in the expanding digital economy. These large non-descript buildings that look like warehouses are popping up across the world and right here in Illinois. Turns out the cloud isn’t so nebulous, after all.

March 20, 2024 marks the annual International Data Center Day. ComEd is taking a moment to highlight the impact that this fast-growing industry is having on our communities. With over 80 active data center customers in Illinois, ComEd’s service territory is home to one of the fastest-growing data center markets in the world, with the Chicago metro region ranking the third-largest data center market for electrical capacity, according to a recent report by JLL. These projects collectively contribute billions in capital and new tax revenues annually and employ hundreds from right here in the region. Data center growth has skyrocketed in recent years, with 26 new data center projects added since 2019 alone.

Here are four our reasons why are data centers choosing Illinois!


1. Access to Nation-leading Reliability

Data centers requires strong reliability to sustain their 24×7 operations, and so developers of this industry increasingly look to the ComEd service region, with its nation-leading reliability, access to clean energy, and competitive rates that make our territory a natural fit for doing business.

“The coming years promise a data deluge. Consumers and businesses are projected to generate twice the data in the next five years compared to the total created in the past decade,” said Andrew Schaap, CEO of Aligned Data Centers. “This exponential growth, fueled by supercomputing, cloud advancements, and disruptive forces like generative AI, will fundamentally reshape the data center industry, daily life, and communication landscape.”


2. Power Capacity

To meet growing demands for digital speed and connection, more data centers are coming to Illinois every year, and existing ones are expanding.

“Continued growth of data centers requires higher and higher amounts of power than we’ve seen before, with projects about ten times the size of what they were just a few years ago,” said Ed Sitar, senior manager of economic development for ComEd. “Fortunately, our customers know they can count on ComEd’s strong infrastructure to meet their growing needs, with the grid backed by an abundance of clean energy generation.”

3. Powered by Clean Energy

Data centers benefit from access to one of the cleanest grids in the nation. In fact, ComEd can meet 96 percent or more of our customers’ energy consumption today with non-carbon emitting energy sources, with plans to reach 100 percent thanks to Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA).

“The Chicago metro area is home to one of the fastest-growing data center markets in the world, and the region’s superior infrastructure, talent, competitive incentives, and access to clean energy are driving more and more companies to build projects here every year,” said Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “This growth didn’t happen by accident – partners across the region, including ComEd, have been essential to putting in place the infrastructure needed for these companies to thrive here, bringing billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs to benefit the area. The data center growth story in Illinois is just one example of the grid’s significance in economic investment decisions, and this will only continue to grow as businesses look to electrify for the future and expand their presence in Illinois.”


4. Strong Infrastructure

Strong infrastructure, including fiber optic networks, is a driving component of what makes Illinois a top state for corporate relocation, which was reaffirmed by Site Selection magazine recently when it named Illinois #2 in the US for corporate projects for the second year in a row.

“By collaborating with utilities in our data center regions, we can ensure the infrastructure needed to support the next generation of technologies and power the digital economy,” adds Aligned’s Schaap. “A reliable and timely electrical infrastructure is critical to our success, and ComEd’s collaborative approach fosters a strong foundation for our continued development in the Chicago market.”


These four reasons make ComEd the ideal utility for data center growth and other technology industries. With power needed to grow and innovate well into the future, electric vehicles (EV) companies and manufacturers are also starting to call northern Illinois their home.  Last year, ComEd supported 15 key business wins last year, including the Gotion EV battery plant in Manteno and Edged Energy Data Center in Aurora, the completion of power upgrades at CSL Behring in Kankakee, and will play a driving role in future projects too, including the Stellantis EV battery production plant in Belvedere, and various data center and electrification projects slated in the months ahead.