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Heatwave Forces Texas Bitcoin Miners to Shut Down


Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin miners are turning their machines off following calls for energy conservation by Texas authorities in anticipation of a brutal heatwave.
  • More than 1,000 megawatts worth of Bitcoin mining load were switched off, which accounts for about 1% of the state’s total grid capacity.
  • Texas has become a major Bitcoin mining hub following China’s 2021 blanket ban on crypto mining.

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Bitcoin miners are cooperating with Texan authorities to help alleviate the state’s energy grid in anticipation of a heatwave; over 1,000 megawatts worth of power allocated for Bitcoin mining is being redirected towards retail and commercial use.

Texas Power Grid Rerouted

A heatwave is forcing Bitcoin miners in Texas to shut off.

According to Bloomberg, industrial-scale Bitcoin mining operations have turned off their machines in anticipation of a heatwave in Central Texas. Such events habitually drive the price of electricity up and at times severely strain the state’s power grid, as demand for air-conditioning rises alongside the temperature.

Texas Blockchain Association President Lee Bratcher told Bloomberg that “over 1,000 megawatts worth of Bitcoin mining load” were being turned off to respect calls from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to conserve energy for the grid. 

Bratcher said the load represented the quasi-totality of all industrial-scale Bitcoin mining in Texas; he also estimated the move would allow “over 1% of [the] total grid capacity” to be rerouted for retail and commercial use.

ERCOT issued a request on Sunday for Texans and large electric customers to lower their electricity use from 19:00 to 01:00 UTC on Monday. It forecasted total power demand would surpass 79,000 megawatts, which would break the record previously set last Friday—78,206 megawatts. At the time of writing, temperatures had reached 107 degrees Fahrenheit in Austin.

The United States became the top mining hub in the world following China’s 2021 ban on crypto mining. Texas, in particular, thanks to its low energy costs and friendly regulatory stance towards crypto, is becoming particularly attractive to large mining companies. Argo Blockchain revealed last November plans to spend up to $2 billion on the construction of a Texan mining facility. 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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