On November 29, 2022, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) published a seasonal assessment and resource adequacy report for the ERCOT region. ERCOT’s study shows that bitcoin mining operations are flexible operations that could benefit the Texas grid during the coming winter and extreme peak loads.
Bitcoin Mining Facilities in Texas Could Limit Operations This Winter, Freeing 1.7 GW of Power, ERCOT Report Says.
ERCOT, the American organization that manages the electric grid of Texas, published a study showing that bitcoin mining operations play an important role in direct response systems. The report’s researchers studied installed generation capacity based on historical data and extreme peak load scenarios. The report shows that bitcoin mining operations could curtail their operations and free up about 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of power during a Texas winter.
Other systems that use large electrical loads cannot adapt to direct response needs, but bitcoin miners, on the other hand, have been known to stop operations when they reach unequal price levels between the spot price of bitcoin and the cost of production. ERCOT’s study details: “This loss is estimated at $86/MWh and is based on the economics of the Antminer S19 bitcoin mining rig as of early November.”
ERCOT is not the only grid operator exploring direct response systems, as Duke Energy Corporation, the second largest energy corporation in the United States, is exploring bitcoin mining in July. Duke’s lead analyst said bitcoin mining operations have partnered with Duke to provide data for a bitcoin demand response (DR) study. That same month, bitcoin mining infrastructure provider Lancium revealed how its Texas operations could reduce the load in DR situations.
Lancium partnered with Texas battery storage provider Broad Reach Power LLC, and when the grid experiences extreme situations, the batteries keep Lancium’s facility running without reducing computing power. Along with heavy load times and extreme weather events, bitcoin miners provide a reliable revenue stream to the network’s operators as they are constantly searching for bitcoins. ERCOT’s study shows that even with bitcoin miners using electricity resources, grid operators believe there will be enough power this winter.
“Assuming the ERCOT Region experiences typical winter grid conditions, ERCOT expects to have sufficient installed generation capacity available to serve the projected system-wide peak demand for the upcoming winter season, i.e., December 2023,” the report states.
The news comes after US lawmakers pressed ERCOT officials for information on bitcoin mining operations. Politicians believe that bitcoin mining affects so-called climate change, and they think that bitcoin miners could destabilize the Texas grid. ERCOT’s new CEO told the press that ERCOT “wants to be able to serve any business that wants to do business in Texas. This includes cryptocurrency miners.”
ERCOT’s report shows that policymakers are wrong about their predictions of grid destabilization, as bitcoin mining facilities may be the only type of operation that can move in the short term in DR situations.
ERCOT’s 22-page study on seasonality assessment and resource adequacy for the ERCOT region can be read in its entirety. here.
What do you think of the report that ERCOT published? What do you think about bitcoin mining applied to direct response systems? Let us know what you think about this topic in the comments section below.
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