Increased electricity demand driven by the growth of artificial intelligence threatens to overwhelm supply, renewable or otherwise, the New York Times reports.

The proliferation of electricity-hungry cloud computing data centers across the country — typically in regions where such services are especially in demand, like Dallas, Silicon Valley, and “Data Center Alley” in Northern Virginia — has led to significant investment in renewable energy. Access to that electricity, however, has become at least as important as proximity to customers. “Anybody who has any significant source of power has now become a new data center market,” data center industry consultant Jim Kerrigan told the Times.

AI’s share of the global data center power demand is predicted to quintuple in the next year, and threatens to push demand beyond what the grid can handle. “They have been building [data centers] at a breakneck pace with so many other kinds of drivers for [electricity] demand,” said Andy Lawrence, head of research at the Uptime Institute. “AI’s kind of the froth on top.” (New York Times $)