The Alberta site chosen to host 200,000 Bitcoin miners from China doesn’t produce enough power to run them, says the plant’s operator.
Nevada-based Black Rock Petroleum signed an agreement last month with Chinese mining firm Optimum Mining Host to migrate up to 1 million machines to three natural gas-producing locations in Canada.
In a subsequent press release in mid-July, Black Rock Petroleum announced that the first 200,000 Bitcoin miners would soon be shipped over to the Quirk Creek Gas plant.
The plant is operated by Caledonian Midstream Corporation (which Black Rock recently bought).
However, speaking to Toronto-based outlet CBC, Caledonian Midstream’s president Charles Selby warned the machines were likely more than the site could handle.
Based on the amount of gas the facility currently produces, just 10,000 rigs would be more realistic, said Selby.
Black Rock Petroleum chief exec Zoltan Nagy hinted in a short phone call with CBC that the company would be looking to add more generators to help bridge the gap.
According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Canada housed 3% of Bitcoin’s total hashrate in April, up from 0.8% a year earlier.
Major Bitcoin miners need power plants
Black Rock Petroleum must overcome significant obstacles if it’s to succeed in importing and setting up the full 1 million machines.
In fact, one researcher told reporters that would mean the firm would wield around one third of the world’s entire Bitcoin mining capacity, and consume 10-30% of all natural gas-produced power in Alberta.
Considering the size of its endeavour, Black Rock Petroleum will also need permission from the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), something Nagy said the company was looking into, according to CBC.
AUC must give the go ahead to any company looking to build or operate a power plant in the province.
Then there’s the significant logistical challenges. Speaking about the proposal, US-based Bitcoin engineer Brandon Arvanaghi told CBC:
“You need a lot of land, you’ll probably need a substation, you’ll need internet connectivity out there, a lot of staff who know how to operate these miners. Basically, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong with this.”