Why Power Reliability is A Growing Threat

Why Power Reliability is A Growing Threat


In a shocking disclosure, Georgia Power announced that 80% of its upcoming electricity generation will be dedicated exclusively to satisfying the energy demands of its rapidly expanding data centers.


This eye-popping statistic reveals the unprecedented challenges utility companies now face in balancing the power demands of these digital behemoths against the needs of residential customers—and traditional business industries, too.

Georgia isn’t the only state to actively court such projects through lucrative tax incentives. Guess who else has? North Carolina.

North Carolina has experienced its own data center boom, with major players like Google, Apple, and Meta establishing massive footprints, particularly in the western part of the state just outside of Charlotte.

And this is just the beginning. The world’s digital information is expanding at an exponential rate, growing tenfold every five years. Contrary to the ethereal nature of the cloud, its infrastructure is far from intangible. In reality, it comprises over 500,000 data centers worldwide, covering an area equivalent to nearly 6,000 football fields. 

Greenpeace’s April report highlights that the energy consumption of data centers and telecommunications networks now rivals that of major nations. If the cloud were a country, it would rank fifth globally in terms of energy demand, following the United States, China, Russia, and Japan.

It raises a deeply unsettling question: Is the Old North State next to face a reckoning between unchecked digital expansion and the harsh realities of an increasingly fragile electric grid?

The implications are nothing short of seismic. 

Local officials are already grappling with the realities of data centers’ excessive water usage for cooling purposes. In Georgia, one county had to triple the size of its main reservoir to accommodate a single data center’s needs, sticking ratepayers with a $131M infrastructure investment.

And the digital economy’s insatiable thirst for energy shows no signs of abating. States are being forced into a high-stakes gambit—rapidly building out new fossil fuel power plants that could saddle residents and traditional industries with higher electricity bills for decades to come.

For business leaders, that means the decline of reliable power looms as an existential threat.

Across the nation, our aging grid infrastructure struggles to keep pace with rising energy demands. And that introduces the risk of crippling outages, voltage fluctuations, and power quality issues. 

These disruptions can bring manufacturing lines to a standstill, corrupt critical data, compromise security systems, and sever the digital lifelines connecting businesses to their customers.

“Electricity has gone from being a commodity to being a competitive advantage.” Harvard Business Review 

Those who plan proactively can gain confidence, while those who take reliability for granted may pay a steep price. 

It’s time for business leaders to take proactive measures to fortify their operations, prepare their employees, and protect their families against the perils of an increasingly fragile electric grid.

As one energy consultant recently told us, “The C-suite can no longer afford to be cavalier about something as fundamental as keeping the lights on.” 

Forward-thinking business leaders aren’t waiting for this ominous reality to hit their bottom lines. They’re already elevating power reliability to a strategic imperative on par with other critical operational risks.

They’re investing in on-site backup generation and energy efficiency and even diversifying their geographic footprints across multiple regions with robust power grids. Some are forming cooperative partnerships with utilities to secure dedicated feeder lines and priority restorations during outages. Larger enterprises may even develop their own microgrids and renewable energy sources to reduce vulnerability.

Forest Park, an office project that Cardinal Partners developed and leases, houses a number of back-office operations for large corporate clients such as Spectrum and Accenture. 

These tenants can rest a bit easier knowing that it is among the few places outside Uptown with redundant dual power feeds from separate substations. If one goes down, operations are unaffected. 

This, plus huge 750kVA Caterpillar generators, gives Forest Park tenants confidence that their operation centers will stay up and running even during the worst hurricane seasons.

Ultimately, the path forward requires a multi-pronged approach combining physical infrastructure hardening, contractual service guarantees, aggressive energy management, and a corporate mindset that treats power as a strategic asset rather than an afterthought.

I’d suggest considering the following ASAP:

  1. Perform thorough risk assessments and identify critical power vulnerability points across your facilities.
  2. Invest in redundant power systems—such as on-site generation, battery backups, and microgrids—to ensure operational continuity during outages.
  3. Collaborate with landlords to understand your building’s susceptibility to power disruptions.

As you evaluate solutions to harden your facility against disruptions, you may discover that the level of redundancy and backup power required comes with a steep price tag that your landlord expects you, the tenant, to cover. 

However, this is a long-term building resilience issue that extends beyond your temporary occupancy. If the outage risks threaten the property’s viability, the landlord should invest in safeguarding the asset.

I wouldn’t wait. I would negotiate now, before the next grid failure.

In our two decades of data center development, brokerage, and as an expert witness on the topic, my team has witnessed firsthand the strategies employed by the savviest occupiers to insulate themselves from devastating outage impacts.

If you find yourself navigating complex negotiations with landlords over backup power, and redundant systems, you can use The Negotiation Worksheet™ from Cardinal Partners. This powerful tool provides a framework to organize your priorities, map out scenarios, and guide discussions to maximize value while minimizing risks and costs.

You also don’t have to go it alone. In the fight to keep your operations running through any conditions. 

“A lot of third-party consultants we hire get frustrated with our process. But John understood it, adapted, and he’s been very supportive throughout our working together. The number one thing that’s important to Mitsubishi is trust. John is very, very trustworthy. He’s very reliable, very ethical, very transparent. He’s a good teacher. We’re not experts in real estate at all. John has demonstrated to us that he has good negotiating instincts. I trust that he is definitely watching out for the interests of Mitsubishi Chemical.” 

—Steve Yurich, CEO, Mitsubishi Chemical (retired)

My firm has decades of experience negotiating and closing successful deals for our clients and partners. With our team and The Negotiation Worksheet™ in your arsenal, you can fortify your enterprise against the increasingly uncertain future of an overstressed power grid.

Simply email or give us a call. We’ll walk you through it.

Real estate transactions can be fraught with frustration and pitfalls.

Sometimes the hardest part turns out to be working with your broker, the person who is supposed to help you through the complexities. Veteran commercial real estate broker and client advisor John Culbertson discovered that brokers’ interests aren’t always aligned with those of their clients. He realized there was a better way to advocate for clients and get the deal done.


Stay up-to-date with Cardinal Insights, our award-winning newsletter.


Our clients get senior-level attention.

We’re grateful for our clients. They are extraordinary leaders who have achieved tremendous results. When we think about the companies and people we are fortunate to work with, we are blown away.

Ready to get started?