Bitcoin mining companies in Texas turned off their machines in anticipation of extreme weather conditions. In some parts of the state, temperatures are expected to surpass 40 degrees (Celsius) which, combined with the electricity consumption of the aforementioned firms, could lead to outages of the energy network.
Brace for the Heat Wave
In an interview for Bloomberg, Lee Bratcher – President of the Texas Blockchain Association – revealed that almost all leading bitcoin miners in Texas have shut off their machinery since meteorologists predict a scorching week for the region. Leading companies, including Riot Blockchain and Argo Blockchain, have a strong presence in the state due to the crypto-friendly stance and low electricity prices.
Those firms manage numerous energy-intensive supercomputers required to mine bitcoin. Combined with the heat wave, this could cause problems to the state’s power grid and leave the population with an unstable electricity supply.
Bratcher said over 1,000 megawatts worth of bitcoin mining load were turned off to conserve energy for the state’s network.
“This represents nearly all industrial scale Bitcoin mining load in Texas and allows for over 1% of total grid capacity to be pushed back onto the grid for retail and commercial use,” he added.
Last Friday, the state marked its all-time peak record for energy usage at 78,206 megawatts. Interestingly, temperatures back then were hovering around 37-38 degrees (Celsius), while this week, they are expected to surpass 40.
The state’s power operator – the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) – monitors the activity of the local bitcoin miners and said those companies are required to switch off their machines in case of such extreme conditions.
The organization estimates that those firms could increase their electricity demand by up to six gigawatts by the middle of next year, which would be enough energy to power every home in Houston.
Problems in Montana, too
Another US state that was hit by unpleasant weather conditions was Montana. A severe storm last month crippled 75% of the operations of Marathon Digital. The bitcoin miner believes the issues will be partially solved in July. However, productivity will remain significantly reduced until all damages are sorted.
Earlier this year, Marathon revealed intentions to relocate some of its mining equipment to other regions such as Texas. Given the problems in Montana, the firm might speed up those plans. Fred Thiel – Chairman and CEO – explained:
“Bringing miners fully back online will take time, and we are committed to doing everything we can to rebuild our hash rate and to improve our bitcoin production… Separate from this event, construction and installations in Texas have continued as scheduled, and given the current macro environment, our pipeline of potential new hosting arrangements remains strong.”