In Texas — the land of big cowboy hats, big boots and a seemingly endless supply of renewable energy generated from the wind — there are now concerns that Bitcoin mining may be unduly burdening the state’s power grids.
Dark clouds could be on the horizon for many crypto miners who have chosen Texas as a base, with local media KHOU saying questions have been raised as to whether the state’s ERCOT power grid manager can handle the growing load.
Texas has been a major destination for Chinese crypto miners as China intensified its clampdown on the sector earlier this year.
Poolin, a major mining pool with significant operations in China, has been actively moving its mining operation from China to the United States, with efforts to relocate some of its executives to Texas, the company’s then vice president Alejandro De La Torre told Forkast.News in an August interview.
De La Torre said at the time that large players had been all over the U.S. looking for deals, and that it will take some time to establish the full extent of the exodus, as many smaller miners have sold their machines or put them in storage while they consider their options in terms of regulation and electricity prices.
Texas has emerged as a friendly state for crypto mining. On June 5, state Gov. Greg Abbott announced a law that would create a master plan for expanding blockchain in Texas. Abbott described himself as a supporter of the crypto law proposal, saying: “[Crypto] is increasingly being used for transactions and is beginning to go mainstream as an investment. Texas should lead on this.”
In May, Chinese cryptocurrency miner BIT Mining announced that it was investing US$25.7 million in a crypto mining facility in Texas that it will build and operate jointly with Dory Creek, a wholly-owned subsidiary of fellow Chinese cryptocurrency cloud mining platform BitDeer.
According to the KHOU report, BitDeer now owns at least one 700-megawatt mining facility in Texas. And that facility, along with another Riot Blockchain Whinstone’s mining farm across the road from the BitDeer site, could use enough power to supply about 280,000 households at full capacity, the local media reported.
ERCOT told KHOU that it is monitoring the local crypto mining developments and evaluating their potential impacts on the grid.
Meanwhile, the crypto-friendly state has just seen another deal made with Bitcoin.
The Houston Rockets — one of the three NBA teams in Texas — on Tuesday announced a partnership with NYDIG, a Bitcoin subsidiary of alternative asset manager Stone Ridge. NYDIG will serve as the professional basketball team’s exclusive partner across a range of cryptocurrency services, and the sponsorship will be paid in Bitcoin, according to a company statement.
“Partnering with NYDIG allows us to leverage the growth of Bitcoin to provide creative rewards and payment options to our fanbase and associates,” Gretchen Sheirr, president of business operations of Rockets, said in the statement.