Bitcoin miners are helping the Texas power grid to stabilise

By Raffaele Redi

The solution was backed by US Senator Ted Cruz

bitcoin miner                                 
After criticism from environmental agencies, bitcoin miners started helping the Texas power grid to stabilise - Photo: Shutterstock
                                

After criticism from environmental agencies, bitcoin miners have started helping the Texas power grid to stabilise.

“Controllable Bitcoin mining loads are helping the Texas grid stabilise its heartbeat at 60 Hertz to prevent heart attacks,” said US Senator Ted Cruz.

The US Senator proposed using old natural gas plants to produce bitcoin miners' electricity, as “natural gas is not great for the environment,” while connecting to the Texas grid and helping to produce energy to meet critical needs.

“Miners have just to stop in time of need to serve power to the grid. It took them a couple of seconds,” he explained in an interview on the Liz Weller Show.

After the ban on bitcoin mining by China, low cost and abundant energy in Texas moved the world capital of bitcoin mining to Houston.

However as several blackouts occurred in the area, fuelled by not weather-proof power generation facilities, environmentalists asked the US government for an intervention, fearing that: “Adding more energy-guzzling crypto mining operations to Texas could exacerbate the sorts of blackouts.”

The battle in outer Houston

The idea originated a few kilometres from Houston, where a territorial battle was reported, between bitcoin miners Bitdeer, a spin-off of Chinese bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, and the Nasdaq listed Riot Blockchain, taking place in a small Texas town of only 5,600 people, Rockdale.

As reported by CNBC, while the two companies were jostling over market share and positioning within an area of cheap electricity, and in a building formerly occupied by Alcoa, they reached an agreement with the company holding the local grid to serve the grid in time of shortages by shutting off the mining machines.

“Rockdale was once home to the largest aluminium plant in the world, run by Alcoa. But starting in 2008, it began to shut down its operations, meaning that energy capacity was going to waste, due to the prohibitive cost of building the transmission capacity necessary to carry it to major population centres," according to Lee Bratcher, president of the Texas Blockchain Council.

The arrival of the crypto miners resolved that imbalance, as CNBC reported.

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