Bitcoin Mining Raises Power Grid Fears in Texas
The United States overtook China as the world’s leading Bitcoin mining powerhouse earlier this year. Texas, in turn, became one of the most crypto-friendly states in the United States.
But as more and more miners come to Texas, the state is facing a mining controversy.
“They are energy hogs, absolutely,” Michelle Michot Foss, a fellow at the Center for Energy Studies told KHOU 11, a local news outlet in Houston.
“I don’t think that in Texas, we’ve actually done a bad job in terms of anticipating growth, I think where we’ve missed it is in understanding the sensitivity of the system to breakdowns,” Foss added, speaking about potential power grid failures.
The news follows a period of significant crypto mining growth in Texas, which, in turn, has been accompanied by pro-crypto comments from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Texas’ crypto pivot
As China began walking back its mining industry as part of its wider crackdown on the crypto industry, Texas was busy taking its own slice of the pie.
In March of this year, Argo Blockchain completed the acquisition of 320 acres of Texan land to launch Bitcoin mining operations.
In April, Riot Blockchain bought another massive Bitcoin mining site in Texas for $650 million.
One month later—after China’s mining ban had really begun to bite—Chinese mining firm BIT Mining Limited announced an investment into a crypto mining data center in Texas of $25 million.
Senator Cruz—speaking at the Texas Blockchain Summit in October—said that Bitcoin could make use of the state’s abundant energy resources, adding fuel to the mining immigration.
“Fifty percent of the natural gas in this country that is flared, is being flared in the Permian right now in West Texas. I think that is an enormous opportunity for Bitcoin, because that’s energy that is just being wasted,” the Senator said.
Despite Cruz’s comments, it is now well understood that mining Bitcoin with non-renewable energy sources like natural gas is harmful to the environment.
According to Cambridge University, 61% of the Bitcoin mining network is powered by non-renewables, or carbon-intensive energy sources (like natural gas).
By current figures, that would mean that Bitcoin mining emits the same amount of greenhouse gases as over 59 billion pounds of burned coal.Source