What’s yours is mined

Plattsburgh, New York is contemplating restricting the mining of cryptocurrency:

The City of Plattsburgh is moving toward installing a moratorium on energy-sucking commercial cryptocurrency mining operations. Such a moratorium may be the first of its kind in the nation, Mayor Colin Read said.

“This would give us some time and allow us to explore this more,” he said. “This has increased our power usage and put us over our threshold, and it is affecting our ratepayers.”

The problem is that mining for cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, absorbs a tremendous amount of energy in generating the virtual currency, explained Municipal Lighting Department Manager Bill Treacy.

And, well, there’s only so much energy at the city’s disposal:

As part of the Municipal Electric Utility Association since the 1950s, the city is allotted a certain amount of inexpensive hydropower generated on the St. Lawrence River.

The cheap power has allowed the city to maintain attractive electric rates for households and businesses for more than half a century.

How much are the miners using?

[A]t times they have used up to 11.2 megawatts of power per month, which can be about 10 percent of the city’s power supply — more than is consumed by Georgia-Pacific, one of the city’s largest users… [W]hen usage is high, the system is in jeopardy of going over its allotment of inexpensive hydropower. When that happens, the city must buy much more-expensive power on the open market to supplement its supply, which drives up the cost for consumers, Treacy said.

Joe and Susan Sispack are demonstrably not keen on $30-$40 increases in their monthly electric bills.

(Via Stephen Green.)

1 comment

  1. McGehee »

    8 March 2018 · 7:39 pm

    Not sure how they’re going to enforce this, but if they have the technical (and legal) means, they should just charge the cryptominers the higher rate and let everyone else continue to pay less as long as possible.

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