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Bitcoin Miners to See 29% Increase in Hydropower in Washington

The promise of cheap, hydroelectric power for bitcoin Miners in Washington state began to weaken.

A 29% interest increase It went into effect on June 1 for hydroelectric power created specifically for cryptocurrency miners in Chelan County. Miners paid a lower, higher-density charge for their electricity. Now, they will pay a newly created cryptocurrency rate known as Rate 36.

“What we did as a commission and what we did as a utility was industry-leading to create a new rate for this kind of demand,” Gary Arseneault, executive officer of the Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD), told local news outlet. KPQ.

Washington state accounted for about two-thirds of all hydroelectric power produced in the United States in 2020. Energy Information Administration. Located on the Columbia River in the state’s Grant and Okanogan counties, the Grand Coulee Dam powers 6,809 megawatts of power. hydroelectric power station – the seventh largest in the world.

Bitcoin mining in the United States

Cheap and renewable hydropower has also made Washington state a popular destination for Bitcoin miners. Washington state accounted for 4% of the total US hash rate in December, according to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance.

Hashrate is a measure of the total computing power on a blockchain. Each hash represents a “prediction” in a cryptographic string. In proof-of-work blockchain networks like Bitcoin, the miner who guesses it correctly gets the right to verify transactions in the block value and receives a reward. An exahash represents a quintillion such estimates and requires a lot of power.

Washington’s share of the US hash rate isn’t the largest by long odds.

Georgia produces 31%, Texas and Kentucky 11%, and New York 10%. That could soon change, although New York Governor Kathy Hochul signs a two-year crypto mining moratorium into law. He is expected to veto or sign the bill next week.

Last year, publicly traded Canadian Bitcoin miner Bitfarms (BITF) purchased a 24-megawatt (MW) Washington facility backed by the Grant County Public Utility District.

The facility produces 17% of the power needed to run Bitfarms’ entire 3.4 exahash operations, which includes Quebec, Canada and Paraguay.

Energy transition at the table

But now there has been some backlash.

KPQ also reported Nearby Douglas County has stopped allowing new Bitcoin miners to set up operations there because they already consume 25% of the county’s available energy.

Still, the Chelan County rate hike won’t ban crypto miners. For companies making significant investments in mining facilities, authorities have approved transition plans to gradually increase energy rates over the next two years.

“We need to make some kind of transition. This is important to the business,” PUD Commissioner Ann Congdon told Wenatchee World on Tuesday. “I understand how businesses need this to plan.”

Even with transition plans in place, criticism has come from the crypto industry.

Malachi Salcido, CEO of Salcido Enterprises, told local news outlet that the new rate will force him to restructure three crypto mining facilities in Chelan County into data farms. There are four other crypto mining facilities, two in Douglas County and two in Grant County.

Under the new pricing plan, Salcido could keep the Chelan facility at a lower, high-density energy rate if it processes the data instead of mining crypto. He told Wenatchee World that data processing uses the same amount of power as crypto mining.

Salcido, “Do you really want to be in the business of regulating what kinds of processes are happening on the servers in your area?” said.

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