Missouri, the state’s largest utility that serves 1.2 million customers, began experimenting with bitcoin mining in April to manage grid variability. E&E News. The company plugs bitcoin mining rigs when electricity is cheap and demand is low to expand its power plants and as an alternative to meet demand.
“Every minute, every minute, every second, we’ve changed dramatically,” said Warren Wood, the utility’s regulator and vice president of legal affairs. “We need something that’s gotten really fast, building up and down capabilities to be a really effective tool for grid balancing.”
The pilot, which is being funded entirely by utility shareholders free of charge to Missouri Ratpayers, sparked interest from Ryan Sylvie, chairman of the Public Service Commission, Missouri’s most prominent energy regulator. Former Republican state senator Sylvie said E&E He was personally attracted to Bitcoin and was keen to put together a technical workshop on bitcoin mining before he heard of the American initiative. He believes Bitcoin has potential as a grid asset.
“When a company comes to us with a program that has very little or no risk for consumers that will benefit them, I think it’s exciting,” Sylvie said. The former senator also recommended that Amaren should consider any risks to the project, although state law allows utility companies to “run pilot programs and look at alternative sources of revenue that can be used at a lower rate.”
Joshua Rhodes, a research fellow at the Webbar Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin, studied the impact of bitcoin mining in the southern states. He observed that bitcoin mining could “add a lot of value, especially how fast they can go up and down … faster than some traditional theorized generators, which is worth it.” Wood reiterated how fast miners can be online in America.
“We’re talking one or less to turn it on or off,” Wood said. “You have a really good process for trying to find that good balance on the grid between your generation’s wealth and load.”
In July, the Mechanicalville plant, an old hydroelectric plant in New York and one of the oldest plants in the United States, shared how they could increase efficiency and profitability with bitcoin mining.