Cryptocurrency mining is an energy-intensive endeavor.
- A single Bitcoin transaction consumes 767.27 kilowatt-hours.[i]
- 120-240 billion kWh annual global electricity usage attributed to cryptocurrency[ii]
And happening close to home.
- 38% of global Bitcoin activity and a third of global cryptocurrency operations are within the U.S.
Cryptocurrency miners will often shop around for the lowest energy rates, making public power attractive service territories.
While these operations can bring considerable load, they can also bring risks to the utility.
- Can add significant system demand – from 25 MW – hundreds of MW
- Potential for significant stranded costs if customer leaves or shuts down on short notice.
- Offering economic development rates could be attractive to miners, but could also increase flight risk for facilities once the rate expires.
Utilities can establish rates and policies that hedge some of these risks.
- Consider an interruptible rate structure/demand response
- Review line extension policy to ensure costs are recoverable within an allotted time
- Locate in a rural area or near a substation with excess capacity
- Add risk acknowledgment in financials and cost of service
[i] “Bitcoin Energy Consumption.” Digiconomist, 20 Oct. 2022, https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption
[ii]“Climate and Energy Implications of Crypto-Assets in the United States,” White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, September 2022.