Power play: Data centers driving need for natural gas infrastructure

The proliferation of large-load data centers is driving strong regional growth in both baseload and peak power demand, said President and CEO Alan Armstrong, and Williams is well positioned to expand natural gas infrastructure to serve this accelerating need.

U.S. data center power demand is expected to more than double by 2030, he told Fox Business Network and natural gas coupled with renewables can meet the growth if new infrastructure is built.

“Natural gas is going to play an incredibly important part here in the U.S. for keeping our prices of electricity down as well as having reliable power and reducing emissions as we take out more and more coal-fired generation,” he said.

Williams’ expansion projects will help meet surging demand from both data centers and industry, Armstrong said during a call with analysts about first quarter 2024 earnings.

In a FERC pre-filing earlier this year, the company already planned to add 1.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas capacity to its Southeast Supply Enhancement project.

“Since the time of our open season, the large utilities that we serve in this area have come back and provided dramatic increases to their generation needs based on data centers to be built in the region, as well as reshoring of industrial markets,” Armstrong told analysts.

“Natural gas demand is not just growing now, it is accelerating. This period of low natural gas prices is reaffirming the great bargain that natural gas offers as a practical low-cost, clean energy solution and the power-hungry world we live in is rapid turning to natural gas to generate this power.”