Texas heatwave forces Bitcoin miners to cut down on energy usage


  • The heatwave in Texas has forced Bitcoin miners in the region to reduce usage of energy.
  • Bitcoin mining companies are selling energy back to the grid.

As Texas experienced a scorching heatwave, the state’s power grid faced unprecedented challenges, leading to the implementation of emergency procedures by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). This extreme weather event had a significant impact on various sectors, with Bitcoin miners among those affected. Texas’ heatwave pushed several mining operations to scale down temporarily. Companies like Riot Platforms and Marathon Digital reported adjustments in their Bitcoin production levels. Marathon Digital, for instance, saw a 9% drop in its Bitcoin production.

Texas heatwave forces change in energy usage

ERCOT, responsible for supplying power to approximately 25 million Texas residents, which accounts for 90% of the state’s grid load, had to take emergency measures to ensure uninterrupted energy supply during this heatwave. These emergency procedures require certain power consumers, including Bitcoin miners, to reduce their energy consumption temporarily, effectively powering down their mining machines. Bitcoin mining, often viewed as an obscure and controversial activity, involves specialized computers known as ASICs competing to find a random number.

Approximately every ten minutes, one computer successfully discovers the number and earns the right to add the latest block of transactions to the Bitcoin blockchain, receiving 6.25 BTC as a reward for this achievement. It is important to note that Bitcoin mining companies like Riot Platforms are not being paid to shut down their operations. Instead, they have adopted a unique strategy to navigate the energy market dynamics. Jason Les, CEO of Riot Platforms, explained that a significant portion of the credits they received from ERCOT, totaling $31 million, came from trading power.

The company holds power contracts and, by choosing not to mine during certain periods, it profits from the spread between the contract price and the market price. Iris Energy employs a similar approach. Les also highlighted ERCOT’s use of Ancillary Services as a strategy to manage grid uncertainty and variability. Ancillary Services are procured by ERCOT in the day-ahead market to balance forecasted supply and demand for electricity and address real-time operational challenges on the grid.

Bitcoin miners are selling energy back to the grid

Riot Platforms actively participates in ancillary services programs, which not only qualifies them for the program but also allows ERCOT to control their energy load as needed. This flexibility enables Bitcoin miners like Riot to adapt to market conditions effectively. Anthony Power, a mining analyst at Compass Mining, considers the strategy employed by companies like Riot as one of the best approaches. Riot Platforms can do this because they have power purchase agreements in place, which essentially allow them to mine at a fixed price.

This approach also provides financial incentives for miners, enabling them to choose between mining Bitcoin or curtailing energy usage when electricity prices are high and selling it back to the grid. This flexibility offers miners a better return on investment while being responsive to the grid’s needs. In ERCOT, energy trading operates in a deregulated market, meaning that high electricity prices serve as a market signal indicating increased demand for power. As Les points out, “Like any market, it represents demand nearing supply.”

The challenges faced by Bitcoin miners in Texas due to the recent heatwave underscore the dynamic nature of the cryptocurrency industry and its close ties to energy markets. Mining operations must continually adapt to environmental conditions, grid demand, and market dynamics to remain profitable and sustainable. As Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining continue to evolve, strategies like those employed by Riot Platforms demonstrate the resilience and ingenuity of the industry in navigating complex energy landscapes.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Owotunse Adebayo

Adebayo loves to keep tab of exciting projects in the blockchain space. He is a seasoned writer who has written tons of articles about cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

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