Senator Cortese’s Legislation (SB 1298) to Accelerate Data Center Expansion in Silicon Valley and Across California Advances through Assembly Natural Resources and Labor and Employment Committees This Week

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

SACRAMENTO (July 3, 2024) This week, legislation authored by Senator Dave Cortese (SB 1298) that would accelerate California’s data center expansion advanced through both the Assembly Natural Resources and Labor and Employment Committees. If enacted into law, the legislation would catalyze a wave of new data center investments, bolstering California’s critical infrastructure and driving long-term economic growth across multiple sectors.

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

Data centers serve as the backbone for the innovation economy’s cloud-based ecosystem and are crucial for critical infrastructure services like hospitals and emergency call centers. Yet 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 address this pent up demand by streamlining the approval process for data centers while maintaining clear guidelines for development and upholding California’s robust environmental standards. Specifically, the bill would raise 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 and create thousands of skilled and trained construction jobs across the state.

“Data centers are vital to supporting California’s critical infrastructure and powering our world-class innovation economy. SB 1298 offers a commonsense solution to support continued economic growth, create new jobs, and strengthen the backbone of critical digital infrastructure in California, all while upholding California’s clean energy standards,” said Senator Cortese (D-San Jose).

“We applaud Senator Cortese for his continued leadership in advancing crucial legislation to meet our region’s pent-up demand for data centers,” said SVLG CEO Ahmad Thomas. “SB 1298 would ensure Silicon Valley and the Bay Area remain the global epicenter of innovation, unleashing a fresh wave of high-ROI investments and generating thousands of jobs for communities across the Golden State.”

The bill was approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on July 1 and by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on July 2. Following the summer recess, the legislation will next be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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