Texas bitcoin mining facility made $9.5M by shutting off power

Riot Blockchain, which owns one of Texas’ largest bitcoin mining facilities, says that it made an estimated $9.5 million by shutting off its facility amid peak demand on the state power grid brought on by recent record high temperatures. That estimated amount in power is more than the company made in selling bitcoin, according to a recent report from the company. 

The report says that shutting off the 750-megawatt facility in Rockdale, east of Austin, voluntarily allowed the company to return 11,717 megawatt hours in July pack to the power grid managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. That’s enough to power to run 13,121 homes for one month. 

The $9.5 million in power provided back to ERCOT far surpassed the net proceeds of $5.6 million it received from selling 275 bitcoin in July 2022, according to the report. ERCOT encouraged businesses to cut back on power usage during peak hours as it hit record demand in July. 

“The company has consistently and proactively pursued low-cost, large-scale access to power under its long-term fixed rate power contracts, providing it with a unique ability to support ERCOT and release capacity back into the grid when power demand in Texas is high,” said Jason Les, CEO of Riot, in the report. 

Bitcoin mining companies in Texas receive power purchase agreements from ERCOT that last a year, Lee Bratcher, the president of the Texas Blockchain Council, told Gizmodo. Only a few bitcoin miners have these power purchase agreements, including the Colorado-based Riot Blockchain. 

But Texas power grid officials have warned that crypto miners will put a six gigawatt-demand on power by 2023. In July, Texas Democrats have said that these crypto mining facilities would use the same amount of power of all homes in Houston

These facilities typically contain thousands of servers mining digital currency as well as cooling systems. 

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