Warren wants to know a lot of the power used by crypto miners in Texas

Warren wants to know a lot of the power used by crypto miners in Texas

Elizabeth Warren is behind a desk pointing and talking.

picture: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

in message She sent to the Texas Electrical Reliability Council, AKA ERCOT, Senator Elizabeth Warren and her fellow congressional Democrats asking how the Texas electric grid supports crypto-mining groups when they support their companies during peak demand.

During the summer, when temperatures in Texas rose more than 100 degrees, ERCOT asked major companies, including bitcoin mining operations, to do so. closing operations When electricity use rose. The Texas Blockchain Council, an association representing dozens of crypto-mining companies in the state, had previously said that the companies approved ERCOT’s request and freed nearly 1% of the Texas network.

Warren’s letter also notes that Texas is already home to a quarter of all Bitcoin mining and 9% of all mining capacity worldwide. That number could rise to around 20% by the end of 2023, according to industry insiders cited Texas Monthly in August. At the same time, the energy used to mine Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, resulted in 80 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2021.

Despite this open gesture to the people of Texans, there was also an economic stimulus to play. Of course, peak power usage also promotes a higher price per watt, so miners have been incentivized to cut down on usage. Warren’s letter cited Gizmodo’s earlier reporting on how one of the largest cryptocurrency mining operations in Texas was headed by Riot Blockchain. Already make a profit When I voluntarily stopped operating during the hot summer months thanks to a power purchase agreement with ERCOT. More than that, the recent White House crypto and climate report noted:

“The increased demand for electricity from crypto-asset mining also increases the overall peak level of grid demand. While reducing this peak during a grid emergency is important, the increased peak is often the reason why demand must respond, creating incentives imbalance between crypto-asset miners and network operators.”

Warren and her fellow Democrats asked ERCOT about annual electricity consumption by crypto companies in the past five years and calculated CO2 emissions from this energy use, the nature of the company’s power purchase agreements, and how crypto miners plan to grow in Texas.

according to July letter Sent to the Environmental Protection Agency by Warren and other representatives in Congress, Texas’ largest mining operation was bringing in approximately 1,045 megawatts of electricity, a figure they estimated could power all residential homes in Houston, Texas. Although those numbers were in place in February, before the May crypto crash sent the entire industry into a bear market, Riot Blockchain was using more than 400 megawatts of capacity from its Coinmint and Whinstone facilities.

But even without Warren and his colleagues’ speech, crypto-mining in Texas could be offshore. According to a report by CoinDesk at the end of August, Steve Kennard, director of the Texas Blockchain Council on Bitcoin Mining Analytics, said that ERCOT was Already call back How many new mining permits has it been issuing? More than that, Kennard said there were fewer places that new mining operations could simply go into without building expensive supporting infrastructure first. Despite the slowdown in permitting, Kennard said network operators have not said explicitly that they are no longer interested in attracting new mining operations.

What may be knocking miners the most is the second most popular cryptocurrency Ethereum Moving from Proof of Work to Proof of Stakewhich promised to cut off the need for most mining operations, and effectively cut energy demand by 99%, at least by some estimates.

The only Texas representative to sign the letter was Al Green, whose county is in Houston. Green did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening.

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