It wasn’t enough to charge Bitcoin miners at the highest rate. Chelan County now has a 29% higher crypto rate. The promise of hydroelectric power at a low price for Bitcoin miners operating in Washington state is slowly fading.
On June 1, a 29% rate increase for hydroelectric power in Chelan county, which was specifically designed for cryptocurrency miners went into effect. The electricity rate that miners were used to pay was a lower, higher-density load rate. They’ll now pay a new cryptocurrency rate, Rate 36.
“What we did in Chelan County was industry-leading. To create a new rate to meet this type of demand,” Gary Arsenault, a Chelan Public Utility District (PUD), commissioner, said to .
According to the Energy Information Administration, Washington State accounted for approximately two-thirds all hydroelectric power produced in the United States in 2020. Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, Grant and Okanogan enables a 6,809 megawatt to be generated.
Bitcoin mining in the United States
Washington state is a popular spot for Bitcoin miners due to its cheap, renewable hydropower. According to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Washington State accounted for 4% U.S. hashrate as of December.
Hashrate refers to the total computing power of a blockchain. Each hash is a guess at a cryptographic string. A miner who correctly guesses a cryptographic string on proof-of-work networks like Bitcoin is eligible to verify transactions worth a block and receives a reward. One exahash is one quintillion of such guesses, and requires a lot power.
Washington isn’t the largest U.S. havehrate contributor, by any stretch.
Georgia is home to 31%, Texas, Kentucky, and New York account for 10%. could be changed if Kathy Hochul, New York Governor, signs a two year crypto mining moratorium. Next week, she’s expected either to veto or to sign the bill.
Bitfarms, a publicly traded Canadian Bitcoin miner, purchased a Washington 24-megawatt (MW), facility that is powered by Grant County Public Utility District.
This facility produces 17% of the power needed to run Bitfarms entire 3.4-exahash operation. It includes Quebec, Canada and Paraguay.
Energy transition on the table
However, there has been some resistance.
KPQ reported that the Douglas County government has stopped permitting new Bitcoin miners from setting up shop there, as they currently consume 25% of its available energy.
The rate increase in Chelan County won’t prohibit crypto miners. Officials have approved transition plans that will gradually increase energy rates in the next two year for companies who have made significant investments in their mining facilities.
“We must have some kind of transition. Ann Congdon, PUD Commissioner, stated that this is important for businesses to the Wenatchee on Tuesday. I understand the importance of this for businesses to plan.
Even though transition plans are in place, the industry has voiced concerns.
Salcido Enterprises CEO Malachi Salcido said that the new rate would force him to reconfigure three of his Chelan County crypto mining sites into data farms. He also has four other crypto mining sites, two in Douglas County, and two in Grant County.
Salcido will be able to keep his Chelan facility at the lower, higher-density energy rate under the new pricing plan if he uses data processing instead of mining crypto. According to Salcido, data processing requires the same amount power as crypto mining.
Salcido stated, “Do you really wish to be in the business regulating what processing occurs on servers in your territory?”