COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As Central Ohio becomes a hub for cloud computing, energy researchers are worried about the impact computing facilities have on the atmosphere.

A study published in August by data management consulting company Cirrus Nexus finds that carbon intensity in the atmosphere is consistently high in the Midwest — and higher than any other data center region in the U.S.

Some of the world’s largest tech companies, including Google, Meta and Amazon have or are building data centers in the New Albany area. The large computing facilities require relatively few people to operate, but consume immense amounts of energy.

Chris Noble, the researcher behind the report, said fossil fuels contribute to the high levels of carbon emissions in the Midwest. According to the report, coal and natural gas generate 75% of the region’s energy production.

With the amount of energy data centers use, Noble said reliance on fossil fuels is not sustainable.

“By 2040, IT will use as much electricity as… is being produced in total today,” Noble said. “So that’s not too far away. And that’s a lot of electricity.”

Noble told NBC4 other regions have seen how data centers impose strain on the grid.

“For instance, in Texas during the heatwave, they were asking– like Bitcoin mining companies and stuff to stop operations during that period, because that had a very significant impact on the amount of available energy for other uses,” Noble said. “They’d have to go through the brownouts or blackouts in certain regions.”

Noble said investing in renewable energy is critical.

A spokesperson for Amazon told NBC4 the company has a goal to operate on 100% renewable energy by 2025. That goal includes plans to build 38 solar and wind farms in the Midwest, with half of them in Ohio.

“We look forward to continuing to grow our investments in renewable energy in Ohio and the Midwest to build a sustainable business for our customers, our communities, and the planet,” the statement read.

Neither Meta nor Google responded to requests for comment.