Data centers have caused skyrocketing power demand in parts of London. Now, new housing construction could be banned for more than a decade in some neighborhoods of the UK’s biggest city because the electricity grid is reaching capacity, as first reported on by the Financial Times. The reason: too many data centers are taking up too much electricity and hogging available fiber optic cables. The Financial Times obtained multiple letters sent from the city’s government, the Greater London Authority (GLA), to developers. “Major new applicants to the distribution network… including housing developments, commercial premises and industrial activities will have to wait several years to receive new electricity connections,” said one note, according to the news outlet.
The GLA also confirmed the grid issue to Gizmodo in an email, and sent along text from one of the letters, which noted that for some areas utilities are saying “electricity connections will not be available for their sites until 2027 to 2030.” Though the Financial Times reported that at least one letter indicated making the necessary electric grid updates in London could take up until 2035. […] “Data centres use large quantities of electricity, the equivalent of towns or small cities, to power servers and ensure resilience in service,” one of the GLA letters seen by the Financial Times reportedly said. […] Developers are “still getting their heads round this, but our basic understanding is that developments of 25 units or more will be affected. Our understanding is that you just can’t build them,” said David O’Leary, policy director at the Home Builders Federation, a trade body. Combined, those sections of London contain about 5,000 homes and make up about 11% of the city’s housing supply, according the Financial Times.