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Cryptocurrency miners want to plug into the Texas power grid; ERCOT interested

Getty Images / Programmer preparing mining rig for cryptocurrency mining.

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Cryptocurrency miners are eyeing Texas’ power grid and Texas state officials are on board.

According to Bloomberg, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas released a forecast that includes estimated electricity demand by crypto miners on the state power grid. The forecast estimates that crypto miners will create 5 to 6 gigawatts of new demand over the next 12 to 15 months, the equivalent of up to about 1.2 million homes.

ERCOT interim CEO Brad Jones told Bloomberg that figure is just the tip of the iceberg and that “about 17 gigawatts worth of crypto miners have inquired about plugging into Texas’ grid.” 17 gigawatts is the equivalent load of two-and-a-half New York Cities, Jones said.

The state has reportedly been “aggressively courting” crypto miners and said the miners are interested in the “state’s cheap power and laissez-faire regulation.” In preparation, Jones said that ERCOT is working with miners to prepare the power grid to handle about 25 gigawatts of cryto demand over the next decade.

Jones said ERCOT is planning for Texas to be the world’s largest crypto mining center.

Critics are concerned the increased demand for power would cause issues for the grid, harkening back to its collapse during the February 2021 winter storm. The grid collapse caused statewide blackouts linked to at least 246 deaths.

Bloomberg reports that miners and supporters in Texas claim the crypto mining will make the grid more resilient “because operators can quickly scale back to give the system a break when demand spikes.”

Jones said that new crypto miners are willing to be considered “flexible load,” which means ERCOT would be able to give miners orders to ramp usage up to down depending on power grid conditions, similar to power plants. Miners have reportedly already began to enroll in the program.

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