Cortese Bill (SB 1298) Passes Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee to Accelerate Data Center Expansion in Silicon Valley and the State of California

SB 1298 (Cortese) is sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group

SACRAMENTO (June 21, 2024) The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee this week passed legislation authored by Senator Dave Cortese (SB 1298) that will accelerate California’s data center expansion, strengthen critical infrastructure, and bolster economic and job growth.

Data centers serve as the backbone for the innovation economy’s cloud-based ecosystem and are crucial for critical services like hospitals and emergency call centers. However, the demand for larger and more powerful data centers is rapidly outpacing the existing supply, with Silicon Valley’s current vacancy rate for data centers at a mere 1.6% — making it one of the hottest data center markets in the country.

SB 1298 aims to streamline the approval process for data centers while maintaining clear guidelines for development and upholding California’s robust environmental standards.

The bill addresses this pressing need by raising the threshold for data center eligibility under the Small Power Plant Exemption process from 100 megawatts to 150 megawatts. This increase will unlock new development opportunities while ensuring projects adhere to California’s clean air and clean energy mandates.

Additionally, the bill will create thousands of new construction jobs across the state while accelerating economic opportunity for communities across California. SB 1298 marks a critical investment in the future of Silicon Valley’s innovation economy, allowing large companies and startups alike to drive the development of breakthrough and emerging technologies at a rapid pace.

“On Wednesday, the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee voted to advance SB 1298, which is essential to upholding California’s continued global leadership in innovation and competitiveness. The bill carefully strikes a balance between fostering our growing digital economy while maintaining the essential environmental standards that define the Golden State,” said Senator Cortese (D-San Jose).

The legislation is sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), the leading business association representing Silicon Valley’s innovation economy and ecosystem. 

“Senator Cortese’s legislation (SB 1298) paves the way for data center expansion that will ensure Silicon Valley and the Bay Area remain the global epicenter of innovation and technology,” said SVLG CEO Ahmad Thomas. “With the successful vote in the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee, we are one step closer to unlocking tremendous economic growth and thousands of jobs for communities across the Golden State. We thank Senator Cortese for his continued leadership on this crucial legislation.”

Following this vote, SB 1298 now moves to the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee for further consideration. If enacted into law, the legislation is expected to catalyze a wave of new data center investments, bolstering California’s infrastructure and driving long-term economic growth across multiple sectors.


About the Silicon Valley Leadership Group:

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) is the leading business association representing the innovation economy and its ecosystem. Founded by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard, SVLG has worked for 45 years to address issues that affect the region’s economic health and quality of life. Today, SVLG Is focused on accelerating the next era of Silicon Valley leadership, activated by our three new Centers of Expertise (COE). Innovation & Technology, Sustainable Growth, and Inclusion & Belonging. SVLG members collectively provide nearly one of every three private sector jobs in Silicon Valley and contribute more than $3 trillion to the worldwide economy. For more information, visit