Bitcoin miners are again showcasing how they can play an essential role in the energy infrastructure as miners shut down or limit production to support the ecosystem in Texas.
Texas is facing a hard freeze warning amid a winter storm originating in the Arctic region, causing the most significant surge in cold air since the ‘Big Freeze’ in February 2021. While the arctic blast is not expected to last as long as the ‘Big Freeze,’ it will produce dangerous cold weather, with temperatures falling 25 to 35 degrees below average between Dec. 22 and 24. Temperaturdroppedell below freezing point in Houston on Dec. 23.
Under the circumstances, the Texas power grid needs enough capacity to meet the demand of homeowners trying to stay warm. Amid the extreme weather and tight grid conditions, large flexible loads are crucial to maintaining the power supply.
The Bitcoin (BTC) miners in the state provide this much-needed flexibility, according to Steve Kinard, Director of Bitcoin Mining Analytics at the Texas Blockchain Council. In a press release, he said:
“The bitcoin mining industry is the leading source of flexible load in Texas, and Texas leads the nation in developing a market environment in which ERCOT [Electric Reliability Council of Texas] has this valuable tool at its disposal.”
In response to the situation, on Dec. 22, Riot Blockchain announced that it would shut down its Rockdale Facility as a safety precaution.
Similarly, on Dec. 23, Neil Galloway, Director of Mining Operations at Compass Mining, warned users about the impending fluctuation in services amid the winter storm. On Dec. 24, he added that its Texas sites were offline except TX1.
Core Scientific filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this week and said it would curtail operations amid the winter storm.
According to the Texas Blockchain Council press release, Genesis Digital Assets and Rhodium have voluntarily agreed to curtail 99% of their operations. The press release added that other miners are monitoring the situation and are ready to reduce operations if the grid’s supply becomes tightWhen of writing, the ERCOT grid was holding steady despite facing higher-than-anticipated demand. However, power companies have urgently requested customers to conserve energy as temperatures are expected to fall below freezing for the second night in a row.