Financial experts believe that cryptocurrencies will be the coin of the future. However, environmentalists decry how mining for cryptos is wreaking havoc on our already suffering environment.
Indeed, Bitcoin mining in particular, is notorious for being resource-heavy, involving a great deal of electricity, usually generated using fossil fuels, resulting in heavy carbon emissions. Indeed, the Bitcoin mining industry uses more electricity than the annual total consumption of several countries.
But over in Texas, Argo Blockchain is building an environmentally-sound power plant to fuel its mining operations. Currently rising on a 126,00 square foot site, this facility was designed to be fueled primarily with wind and solar power.
Argo CEO Peter Wall refers to this new facility as “Bitcoin mining nirvana.” It is certainly a welcome change from the pollution-generating rigs that have given Bitcoin miners a bad name among environmentalists.
Over the past several months, Texas became a prime location for many crypto mining facilities forced to relocate for regulatory and environmental reasons. What makes the state attractive is an incentive structure that appeals significantly to crypto-miners: its state-wide grid offers a discount to companies who can unplug from the grid whenever power demand spikes.
It’s a system that allows electricity to go to ordinary households during high-demand periods, and it’s something that crypto miners are amenable to as they can switch it on or off in seconds. Argo, for example, can go off the grid and rely on its on-site wind farm and solar panels.
That’s the other factor that brought the London-based crypto mining company to Texas. West Texas, in particular, offers ample green power from many well-established solar and wind-powered facilities. The company’s facility in Lubbock, TX will be connected to a part of the Texas grid where 85% of the power comes from wind farms and solar infrastructure.
However, Wall is quick to add that this doesn’t mean that the Argo facility won’t have a carbon footprint.
Because renewable energy providers have yet to find a way by which power can be available at all times, facilities like Argo’s still need to connect to the state grid.
At the same time, not all crypto miners in the area are lucky enough to partner with a renewable energy provider. Many of those involved in renewables remain wary of cryptocurrency. Moreover, many mining facilities don’t have strong enough credit profiles to ink long-term deals.
For his part, Wall says that Argo will be building its own solar panels for its Texas site on top of buying energy directly from renewables within the vicinity.