Crypto mines in Texas temporarily shut down to alleviate pressure on the state’s power grid during its heat wave this week.
The mines voluntarily powered down after the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked residents and businesses to reduce their consumption for a seven-hour period on Wednesday, according to a release from ERCOT.
The Texas Blockchain Council said that nearly all industrial-scale crypto mining powered down to fulfill ERCOT’s request, as reported by the Washington Post.
“Over 95% of industrial-scale bitcoin mines curtailed their power consumption during peak demand times over the past week,” Lee Bratcher, president of Texas Blockchain Council, told the Post. “The bitcoin miners were able to push over 1,000 [megawatts] back into the grid for ten-hour plus periods multiple times during the week.”
Crypto mining is the process used to make various cryptocurrencies. The computing power it takes to encrypt the currency and make it secure for transfers requires a large amount of electricity.
A report by Columbia University said that the various mines used for Bitcoin, the world’s largest form of cryptocurrency, are estimated to consume more than 150 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. The university said that’s more electricity than the entire country of Argentina consumes in a year.
Miners across the globe have settled in Texas — as well as other parts of the U.S. — after their previous homes in China were shut down.
The Chinese Communist Party began shutting down the mines’ access to the nation’s cheap electricity in order to shift China’s focus on developing a home-grown digital currency, according to the Guardian.
The outlet reported that Texas’ deregulated power grid made it an attractive site for miners. That means that miners could choose from various power providers, and on the flip side, providers had to compete for the miners’ business by offering lower rates.
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