Kentucky regulators reject subsidy for crypto mining firm: Here’s why – Cryptopolitan

Kentucky’s Public Service Commission recently rejected a proposal that would have granted Ebon International, a mining firm, a discounted rate on electricity for its planned crypto-mining facility in Louisa, Kentucky. The decision came as a significant blow to Ebon International, which had planned a $50 million investment in a 100-megawatt mining operation, with an option to increase the load to 250 MW by 2024.

The environmental and economic implications

The commission’s decision was met with applause from environmental groups like Earthjustice and Greenpeace USA. Joshua Archer, the Bitcoin Campaign Lead for Greenpeace USA, stated that incentivizing crypto mining firms like Ebon International would have placed an undue burden on average energy consumers in the state. 

The proposed facility had the potential to extend the life cycle of the Big Sandy gas plant until 2041, thereby exacerbating climate change. Archer emphasized that Bitcoin mining facilities are a significant source of pollution and serve as a lifeline to the fossil fuel industry.

The state of Kentucky has been a significant hub for Bitcoin mining in the United States, alongside Texas, Georgia, and New York. However, environmental organizations in these states have been pushing for restrictions and bans on crypto mining. Notably, New York signed a proof-of-work mining moratorium into law in November 2022, and a bill removing incentives for miners made it through the Texas Senate in April.

The commission’s decision also comes at a time when the state had previously announced plans to review the deal between Ebon and Kentucky Power. The details of the proposed contract, which were partially redacted, included Kentucky Power providing Ebon a discounted rate for service over a ten-year period. This decision to reject the proposal sends a strong message that the needs of average energy consumers take precedence over the profits of crypto mining companies.

While the decision is a significant step forward in balancing environmental concerns with economic interests, it also raises questions about the future of crypto mining in Kentucky and other states. Companies like Ebon International may now have to reconsider their strategies and look for alternative locations that are more welcoming to their operations. This could potentially lead to a shift in the landscape of crypto mining in the United States, as companies may opt for locations with less stringent regulatory environments but also face the challenge of increased scrutiny from environmental organizations.

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About the Author: Daniel