Riot Blockchain, a bitcoin mining company based in Texas, was able to completely offset the cost of a month’s worth of electricity thanks to a state subsidy. It did so by voluntarily turning off some of its miners during the month of July, thus earning millions in power credits for “contributing to power grid stability in Texas.”
The company was able to mine about 318 BTC during the month of July, down 30% from last year, and valued at around $6.88 million. This was in addition to the $9.5 million in power credits awarded to them for not drawing power away from an already strained ERCOT power grid (opens in new tab). This means the company was able to mine almost $7 million in bitcoin for essentially free for an entire month (via Web3isgoinggreat (opens in new tab)).
In a press release, Riot Blockchain CEO Jason Les claims that “when applied to anticipated power costs for the month, the power credits and other benefits are expected to eliminate Riot’s power costs for July.”
This means Riot was still able to mine millions in bitcoin and have the energy bill for July paid for by Texan tax dollars.
In case you’re wondering how much power usage was saved by Riot turning off just some of its miners, the company “curtailed a total of 11,717-megawatt hours in July, enough to power 13,121 average homes for one month.”
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Meanwhile, according to this report in the Texas Tribune (opens in new tab), Texans are paying at least 50% more in electricity costs this summer as record-breaking temperatures increase demands on the state’s energy grid.
“By providing power back into the ERCOT grid during periods of peak demand, the Company estimates that power credits and other benefits from curtailment activities totaled an estimated $9.5 million, significantly outweighing the reduction in BTC mined.”
As of 2022, 35% of all bitcoin mining happens in the US, generating about 40 billion pounds of carbon emissions. Estimates say that mining one bitcoin uses the same amount of power consumption as an American household over 50 days (opens in new tab).
In April, the company announced plans to upgrade its Corsicana facility into a 1-gigawatt operation in Navarro County. Riot also has a massive 750MW facility in Rockdale, Texas.