I have previously written about Texas and its relationship with crypto mining with Bitcoin mining taking the center stage. After the freeze in 2021 that almost led to the electrical grid completely failing moves had to be made and while there were a ton of routes to choose from Texas chose to blaze a path all its own. Naturally, this had led to some pushback but this winter when another record-breaking freeze gripped the state the electrical grid was completely fine.
What Did Texas Do?
Texas, unlike most states, has a decentralized electrical grid meaning you can choose your electrical provider thus creating competition among dozens of companies. A key part to making this work though which runs counter to one's belief would be you want as much electricity on the grid as possible as often as possible. The goal is to flat out the peak usage hours by having as much electricity drawn as one could.
By choosing to partner with crypto mining companies Texas was able to do just this. These energy-intensive machines are extremely beneficial to the state as it helps even out the power consumption. It has also allowed the state to also continue to add more renewable power with the mining companies in some instances helping finance or build solar or wind farms. Not only helping increase renewable generation overall but also having Bitcoin itself becomes a much more green energy. Texas believe it or not produces the most renewable energy in the US but further build-out had started to drop off due to the demand not being high enough all of the time. Crypto mining fixes just that.
What is Going on Now?
As someone who was born and raised in Texas, I can assure you that we are used to heat and we adapt our lives around it. However, it does come with its limits something that recently has been really getting tested. While the freeze was one thing you could always address it by adding more layers or starting a fire etc. With heat it's not like you can peel your skin off to cool down there is a limit on what you can do.
Growing up it was common to have days in the mid to high 90s with the heat index reaching the low 100s. Yesterday though when I talked to my parents in Houston it was 102 in the shade and with the heat index, it was 117. My friend up in Dallas said they had hit a high of 106 and he was not sure what the heat index was. These temperatures are extremely brutal and gripping most of the state.
Given this power consumption is skyrocketing and Texas's partnership with these crypto companies is paying off. While it is officially on a volunteer basis the government does pay these companies when they power down their miners releasing the electricity that they would have consumed back to the grid. This agreement has kept the grid up and running providing the life-saving power that is needed. It also is giving miners the ability to make some nice cash while also not having to use their equipment during a downturn in the price of Bitcoin! While I am not certain on this I have to assume that this is a huge help to miners right now with electrical prices going up and Bitcoin prices being down.
Another interesting fact that plays into this whole situation as well deals with wind energy. During periods of extreme heat wind energy production falls to near zero. The reason for this is simple heat waves actually cause "wind droughts" which lead to no wind to produce energy and further depleting the grid. Building excess capacity in the last couple of years for these miners has allowed for wind energy production to fall and it has not caused as large of an issue as it could have caused.
For the rest of this week, the temperatures in Texas are supposed to be in triple digits before they get some relief. With the grid staying up and running protecting and saving people's lives miners have the ability to provide yet another reason why PoW mining is not as detrimental as some have made it out to be. Plus the miners have to be happy getting a check from the government for NOT using any power!
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