Texas: ERCOT requests Bitcoin miners switch off to reduce energy consumption in extreme heatwave

Jul 15, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Texas is currently experiencing record temperatures, with the state hitting triple figures last week. Waco, for example, reached 108F, beating the 104F high set a century ago back in 1917. Last month, for instance, over a third of those in the US were urged to stay inside. This news comes as global temperatures soar, and scientists warn that the situation is only likely to worsen. Speaking to The Independent, ​​Vikki Thompson, a climate scientist at the University of Bristol's Cabot Institute, explained: "Climate change is making heatwaves hotter and last longer around the world. Scientists have shown that many specific heatwaves are more intense because of human-induced climate change. The climate change signal is even detectable in the number of deaths attributed to heatwaves."

As temperatures become increasingly unmanageable across the US, Texas' grid operator has called for businesses and residents to conserve energy as much as possible, as the heatwave drives record power demand. Bitcoin mining companies (the world's largest cryptocurrency, which currently guzzles an estimated 150 terawatt-hours of electricity annually), have complied with the operator's request and turned off machines that would have otherwise, according to the Texas Blockchain Council, have consumed 1,000 megawatts of electricity. While those from the industry have said it's the right thing to do to be a "good 'grid citizen," right now, electricity prices in Texas are also extremely pricey due to them being in short supply. 

Speaking to Bloomberg, Core Scientific CEO Mike Levitt said: "Currently, 100% of the machines located in Texas have been powered off to provide support for the ERCOT grid." Meanwhile, Argo Blockchain CEO Peter Wall, said: "In times of high-power demand, we believe that people should take priority over crypto mining. When ERCOT sends out a conservation alert, we take it seriously and curtail our mining operations. We did this again this afternoon, as did many of our peers in the mining space."

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