Senate Passes Cortese Bill (SB 1298) to Accelerate Economic Growth through Data Center Expansion

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

SACRAMENTO (May 23, 2024) The State Senate passed legislation on Wednesday authored by Senator Dave Cortese (SB 1298) to foster California’s economic growth and shore up critical infrastructure through the expansion of data centers. 

California’s critical infrastructure – such as hospitals and emergency call centers – rely on data centers, which also serve as the backbone for the innovation economy’s cloud-based ecosystem. Yet the demand for larger and more powerful data centers is far outpacing the existing supply. In fact, Silicon Valley’s current vacancy rate for data centers is at a mere 1.6%, making it one of the hottest data center markets in the country. 

Senator Cortese’s bill, SB 1298, is designed to streamline approval for data centers, maintain clear guidelines for development and uphold California’s robust environmental standards – creating thousands of new construction jobs across the state. Specifically, the bill seeks to raise the threshold for data center eligibility under the Small Power Plant Exemption process from 100 megawatts to 150 megawatts, in adherence to California’s rigorous clean air and clean energy standards. 

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

SB 1298 represents California’s commitment to being a world leader in technology and innovation by future proofing our infrastructure by expanding data center capacity,” said Senator Cortese (D-San Jose). “This bill keeps California on the cutting edge, and will ensure that our most critical support services stay online and operational.”

“From electronic health records and digital banking to emergency call centers, data centers serve as critical infrastructure for California’s economy,”” said SVLG CEO Ahmad Thomas. “We thank Senator Cortese for his continued leadership on advancing SB 1298. Today’s vote moves us one step closer to creating thousands of new jobs and promoting new economic growth with the expansion of more reliable and powerful data centers in Silicon Valley and across the Golden State.”

“Alameda County is home to a wide variety of industries from world-famous federal research labs and advanced automotive production to award-winning wineries and cattle ranches, and we recognize the significant role that data centers play in supporting our region’s economic vitality. I’m proud to support Senator Cortese’s data center legislation (SB 1298), which would foster new job opportunities and support continued innovation, all while upholding California’s robust environmental standards,” said Alameda County Supervisor David Haubert (District 1).

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