The subject of mining cryptocurrencies and their electricity consumption has gotten a lot of heat from a number of analysts and researchers. But recently, the mining centers of Montana were brought up in the meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural resources Committee not because of the coal based electricity is contributing to pollute the environment, but because they might soon run out of coal to burn to power mining rigs. Senator Steve Daines established the relation between bitcoin mining centers and the power plant that are located in Colstrip.
The senator expressed his concern over the upcoming problems that the miners would face because of lack of supply of cheap electricity. The demand for bitcoin is increasing everyday as more and more people are gaining awareness about cryptocurrencies. If the supply of electricity from coal generation decreases, how would the mining operations be powered? In addition, if the supply diminishes and the demand rises, it would ultimately lead to inflation in the prices of electricity in Montana. The Senator said,
As the demand for Bitcoin miners increases and supply of cheap, reliable electricity from coal generation decreases, this could pose a threat of the expansion of Bitcoin generation and even greater threat to energy supply and prices for Montana as a whole.
The two of the largest crypto mining farms in America are located in Western Montana, housed in Bonner and Butte. In the past, Butte was known to be the hub of the precious metals i.e. gold and silver. The city of gold mines was one of the richest in the nation for decades before its mines went empty in the 1950s. Crypto Watt LLC brought mining back to Butte. Matt Vincent, chief communications officer for Crypto Watt LLC, which was located in old MSE technologies building on a colossal industrial site on the south end of Butte, is a Butte native and former town Chief Executive, he foretold the success of this operation saying,
When we get these things up and running, we’ll be one of the largest cryptocurrency mining operations in America.
He also stressed on how these mining rigs would provide jobs to a lot of people. With many of the miners returning to the city, the industry was guaranteed to thrive. He also said,
We could be looking at as many as 100 jobs in this area.
Mining crypto can take a ton of machinery. As more and more coins are accumulated, the complexity of the calculations become increasingly high and the hash rate decreases. This machinery can easily get heated up and needs to be cooled down or the system can potentially disintegrate. Vincent told how the cool temperatures in Montana could aid in cooling down the machines, which would avert having to install a number of air conditioners to prevent the chips from burning up. The second advantage is that the superfluous electricity consumed to cool down the mining rigs would become unneeded, hence there would be no added expenses of electricity.
You got cheap power, you got low ambient temperatures and you got available power, these places take a lot of energy.
The members present at the meeting took note of the impending problem and satiated the Senator by telling him that even if the primary sources of power for these crypto mining farm get shut down, it wouldn’t imply shutting down the farm. The power resources can be replaced with newer ones, which could without doubt produce enough electricity to power the giant mining centers and would hopefully not inflate prices for the customers either.
The coal mines, if exhausted completely would call for a replacement of the power source. I think this provides an opportunity to the individuals in higher ranks to bring about the environmental reforms that are highly talked about but very rarely actually implemented. Instead of resorting to other coal mines or fossil fuels for electricity generation, power should be generated using renewable resources, that would have minimalistic hazardous impact on the environment.