Texas Residents Challenge Bitcoin Mining Industry’s Impact on Power Grid and Communities

  • Sergey Maga
  • 26 July, 2023 15:11
Texas Residents Challenge Bitcoin Mining Industry’s Impact on Power Grid and Communities

In Texas, home to one of the largest Bitcoin mining operations worldwide, local residents are taking a stand. They challenge the impact of Riot Platforms, a major Bitcoin miner, on the power grid and local communities, according to coindesk.

Riot saved $27 million in 2022 under demand response programs. These offer incentives for major energy consumers to power down during periods of high energy demand. However, locals and lawmakers claim this system unfairly subsidizes the industry at the expense of residents and the environment.

Amid this controversy, legislators proposed Bill SB 1751 to limit the mining industry’s participation in such programs to 10%. The bill initially passed the Senate but did not make it through a House committee.

Riot is currently developing two sites in Texas, which combined will have a total energy capacity of 1.7 GW. If completed, these sites could consume enough energy to power 340,000 Texan homes during peak demand.

Residents accuse the company of exploiting state incentives for its own gain. Riot reported losses of $509.6 million in 2022, largely due to impairments in assets. Critics suggest that without subsidies, the company may not be sustainable.

Industry advocates argue Bitcoin miners contribute to grid development and stability. They contend miners can balance the grid by providing a base load during periods of low demand and powering down during peak times.

Despite this, locals have raised concerns over inadequate tax and community contributions. They also question the actual employment benefits provided by the crypto mining operations.

Residents also voice concerns over the environmental impact. They suggest even if Riot uses 100% renewable energy, the consistent growth of Bitcoin’s energy consumption hampers the transition away from fossil fuels.

The debate continues, illustrating the complex intersection of technology, economics, and community interests in the era of cryptocurrency.

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