Texas crypto mining draws criticism over high power bills, environmental issues

LAUREN TAYLOR

IN TEXAS, THE ONCE-WELCOMED BITCOIN MINING INDUSTRY FACES BACKLASH DUE TO RISING ENERGY PRICES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS. 

FOLLOWING CHINA’S 2021 BAN ON CRYPTO MINING, TEXAS, WITH ITS CHEAP POWER AND FAVORABLE REGULATIONS, SAW A SURGE IN MINING OPERATIONS. 

HOWEVER, RESIDENTS AND POLITICIANS ARE NOW SCRUTINIZING THE INDUSTRY’S IMPACT ON ENERGY COSTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT. 

LAST YEAR A BITCOIN MINING OPERATION AT A GRANBURY, TEXAS POWER PLANT CAUSED UPROAR. RESIDENTS HAVE REPORTED NON-STOP NOISE, LEADING TO SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, MIGRAINES, AND DISAPPEARING WILDLIFE. THE COUNTY CONSTABLE SAYS HIS CITIZENS ARE SUFFERING FROM THE OPERATION. 

LAST YEAR, TEXAS LAWMAKERS INTRODUCED A BILL THAT WOULD RESTRICT CRYPTO MINING DURING PEAK ENERGY HOURS. HOWEVER THAT BILL FAILED FAILED IN COMMITTEE.

LETTERS TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY FROM THE ELECTRIC RELIABILITY COUNCIL OF TEXAS INDICATE THAT THE SEVEN LARGEST CRYPTOCURRENCY MINERS USE OVER 1-THOUSAND MEGAWATTS OF POWER – ENOUGH TO SUPPLY ELECTRICITY TO 830-THOUSAND HOMES.

IN AN INTERVIEW WITH WIRED, ED HIRS, AN ENERGY EXPERT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON, WARNS THAT THE AGING OF TEXAS’S FOSSIL FUEL POWER PLANTS COMBINED WITH ALLOWING LARGE-SCALE MINING FACILITIES TO DRAW HEAVILY FROM THE GRID WILL ONLY WORSEN THE SITUATION AND LEAD TO MORE INSTABILITY.

LAST MONTH THE TEXAS BLOCKCHAIN COUNCIL AND RIOT PLATFORMS SUED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OVER A REQUEST FOR DETAILED ENERGY USAGE DATA, CLAIMING IT COULD HARM BUSINESSES. A JUDGE HALTED DATA COLLECTION, WITH THE GOVERNMENT AGREEING TO DESTROY ALREADY GATHERED INFORMATION. 

GOVERNOR ABBOTT ENDORSED THE INDUSTRY AS A GRID RELIABILITY SOLUTION. HE ARGUES THAT DURING TIMES OF LOW DEMAND, MINERS WOULD USE RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES, BOOSTING THE PROFITABILITY OF WIND AND SOLAR PLANTS. ADDITIONALLY, IN PERIODS OF HIGH DEMAND, THEY AGREE TO SHUT DOWN THEIR OPERATIONS IN RETURN FOR A FEE. CRITICS ARGUE THE OPERATIONS STRAIN THE GRID AND OFFER MINIMAL BENEFITS, OFTEN AT TAXPAYERS’ EXPENSE.

https://san.com/cc/texas-crypto-mining-draws-criticism-over-high-power-bills-environmental-issues/

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