Texas governor plea to Bitcoin miners: ‘Help me get through winter’

Governor Abbott thought an influx of Bitcoin miners would bring Texas better energy infrastructure, but locals are still nervous about power.

Texas governor Greg Abbott previously asked locally-based Bitcoin miners to help the state get through winter by switching off their machines.

Reports have surfaced indicating Abbott made the plea in a meeting last October with representatives from Texas’ burgeoning Bitcoin mining community.

Abbott asked them to power down should the grid begin to fail under high demand.

A cold snap coupled with a struggling grid left millions without power for days last February, with hundreds dead.

According to Bloomberg, two Bitcoin mining outfits in Texas agreed to switch off should the need arise, as not much has changed to improve the state’s grid.

Since that meeting, Texas has attracted displaced Bitcoin mining operations from China. Bitmain and Riot Blockchain set up shop in the state late last year.

Abbott, who faces re-election this year, had pitched Texans on the idea that an influx of Bitcoin miners could inspire energy companies to build more power plants in the state.

Crypto industry insiders had reportedly suggested this envisioned reality to Texas’ governor for years.

And so, Abbott last June tweeted to declare Texas was “open for crypto business” after Beijing ramped up efforts to curb crypto mining.

The Lone Star state even bolstered attempts to become a Bitcoin hub with crypto-friendly legislation, which made it easier for businesses to handle digital assets.

Bitcoin miners met with colder shoulder outside Texas

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) found that Bitcoin mining currently consumes around 500 to 1,000 megawatt (MW) of power across the state.

ERCOT said the figure could increase by as much as five times by 2023. Polling also shows that more than half of Texan responders disapprove of how the current grid is managed.

Texas’ power grid has been deregulated for the past two decades.

Worryingly, Texan state officials have left the decision to switch off Bitcoin miners during high demand entirely to the miners themselves. Bitcoin miners are under no obligation to curb their power usage.

Practical Engineering went deep on 2021’s deadly power outages in Texas.

Read more: [Bitcoin miner Argo breaks ground in Texas, kicking off green energy rush]

“We’ve got to make sure that if we’re getting close to scarcity, people aren’t mining Bitcoins anymore,” said one local energy consultant to reporters.

Meanwhile, governments in Kosovo, Iceland, and Kazakhstan have taken a tougher approach to deal with their own energy shortages — either turning away Bitcoin miners or cutting off electricity altogether.

H/T: [The Independent]

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