Boys (Idaho Statesman) – Cryptocurrency miners are flocking to Idaho because of its cheap power. State authorities say the additional energy demand is putting a strain on the entire electrical grid.
In fact, Idaho Power asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to create a file New customer category For large-scale miners, Jordan Rodriguez, a spokesperson for Idaho Power, said.
“These customers have the potential to increase energy demand, which may require Idaho Power to build additional infrastructure,” Rodriguez said by phone.
GeoBitmine said on file argument for reconsideration The new customer class is discriminatory and will halt plans to develop a crypto-mining operation at the idled JR Simplot Co potato processing plant in Aberdeen that would use waste heat to power greenhouse farming year-round. The University of Idaho Research and Extension Center plans to use the process in seed research.
The petition said that both crypto mining and indoor farming will use a fixed electrical load of 6 megawatts. But GeoBitmine argues that the rates and terms of service that will apply under the new designation “make it impossible to move forward” on the joint venture due to potential power outages.
“Loss of electricity during the hottest part of the day in the hottest months of the year would be disastrous for indoor food production, potato storage and seed research facilities,” the company said.
CRYPTO Mining Company Requests Discriminatory Classification
She also said that the designation would force taxpayers to suffer provisions that are not imposed on any other class of customers in the Idaho Power system.
“It is a black-letter utility law that the Commission may not agree to, and utilities may not charge rates that treat customers preferentially or disadvantage some customers in favor of other customers in the same situation,” GeoBitmine said in its petition.
Rodriguez said the increased demand from crypto mining operations may require new substations, lines, transmission resources and power plants. These assets are paid for by all customers through prices over time.
Adding new infrastructure can increase electricity prices for everyone. If crypto miners had to pack up and leave the state, the remaining costs would be left over, and the rest of Idaho Power’s customers would pay the bill.
As the cryptocurrency industry fluctuates, it is not clear how long these miners will last.
“What we don’t want is a bunch of speculation coming online in a short period of time that will likely require us to go out and build new resources or buy a bunch of energy in order to meet demand,” Rodriguez said. .
The new rating For industrial crypto miners, they will be applied to operations that consume less than 20 megawatts. According to Rodriguez, 20 megawatts is enough to power about 15,000 homes. Anything larger falls into the current rating under the supervision of the committee.
PUC divides customers into categories based on the way they use energy, including residential users, small businesses, large commercial businesses, irrigation and farmers.
Crypto miners Run powerful computers Executing complex mathematical equations, often of all times, to mine or create digital currencies.
Electricity is a huge cost to crypto miners
Electricity is a significant cost to any crypto mining operation, said Mike Lewis, director of engineering program at PUC.
“There is an incentive for them to chase less expensive electricity,” Lewis told the Idaho Statesman by phone. “And because they don’t have other infrastructure to put them in this location, as with other clients, it puts them in a class where there is a need to protect against stranded assets.”
So far, most crypto miners in the state are hobbyists, working from basements or garages, according to Rodriguez. These people will not be affected by the new customer class.
“It is unlikely that a residential person would do enough mining to have these significant impacts that would force us to build additional infrastructure,” Rodriguez said.
Currently, Idaho Power does not have any customers that fall into the new customer category. While it has some clients doing crypto mining under small residential or public service schedules, he said, Idaho Power can’t tell how many. But the tool says it has “received interest from customers suggesting approximately 2,000 megawatts of potential cryptocurrency mining.”
The tool says it has some Lowest energy prices In the country, it is about 30% below the national average, with variations by category of customers.
Idaho also has a low risk of natural disasters, which can disrupt data centers or other large buildings filled with servers, computers, and other equipment.
“It is seen as a low-risk location to carry out these operations,” Rodriguez said. “It’s also a relatively low-cost energy site compared to working in California.”
Idaho Power is already seeing an increase in demand thanks to significant population growth over the past decade or so. Excess heat and fire activity too puts pressure on the network.
IDAHO POWER Will Shut Down CRYPTO Mining During Peak Demand
A key part of the facility’s request to PUC is the ability to shut down crypto mining operations during times of peak power demand to avoid any shutdowns of the remaining Idaho Power customer base. Rodriguez said heat waves are the best example of a time when his system is running close to capacity.
“It’s something we’re watching closely,” he said.
The second major part is the power to charge miners a “marginal rate” for cryptocurrency for any additional electricity that Idaho Power must buy or generate for them. Marginal rates are usually higher than the base rates.
Report released on September 8And the Commissioned by the Biden administration, in detail The carbon footprint of digital assets. The report warned that the use of electricity linked to cryptocurrencies could harm efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The United States hosts about a third of global crypto operations, according to the report. They consume an estimated 0.9% to 1.7% of the country’s electricity use.
“Currently, some crypto asset technologies require a significant amount of electricity to generate, own and exchange assets,” the report said. “Depending on the energy intensity of the technology used, crypto assets could impede broader efforts to achieve a net carbon footprint consistent with US climate commitments and goals.”