Crypto Miners and Electricity Providers Seek Common Ground

Karan Balwani

August 28, 2018 3:32 pm

Crypto Mining

Crypto Miners and Electricity Providers Seek Common Ground
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There has been a lot of debate in regards to the legality of cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies are taking over the world. There are hardly any industries left where we haven’t seen the use of cryptocurrencies in the market.

The relationship between cryptocurrency miners and utility providers has always been a confusing one. On one side, the miners can help utilize the wasted peak energy. While electricity providers need to expand their infrastructure to meet the increased needs of the miners. 

This should be a win-win situation for both parties, however, given the skepticism towards cryptocurrencies, utility companies are reluctant to invest millions, even billions of dollars to increase their production capacity. They are afraid that in case the crypto bubble ends up bursting, they would end up losing a lot of money on their investment.

Recently Grant County in Washington has seen a sharp rise in the number of cryptocurrency miners. Around 100 miners are requesting power from the utility companies. Collectively, they are asking for 1,700 megawatts of power. To put this into perspective, it’s equivalent of two nuclear power plants or the same as 1.5 times the power requirements of the city of Seattle. The average electric load of Grant County is around 600 megawatts.

Cryptocurrency mining is carried out on dozens of computer servers. These servers enormous amount of energy since they are designed to run consistently for months to an end. The electricity is used to power these machines while mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. The cryptocurrencies are earned by solving complex mathematical problems.

The electricity cost in the US averages around 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. Meanwhile, Grant PUD (Public Utility District)  has priced its energy at 1-2 cents per kilowatt-hour. This is because Grant PUD is a non-profit entity that uses hydroelectric power for electricity generation. Their power generation facility is spread over 2,800 miles, 3 hours Southwest of Seattle.

The Gran PUD is looking to create a different pricing plan for crypto miners. It has categorized the miners under “evolving industry” class.

Miners have come forward suggesting a mutually beneficial strategy to the PUD. They are offering the PUD to utilize all the idle power on their grid so that no energy gets wasted.

This news was originally published by CBS Interactive, Inc.

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