Practically all industrial-scale Bitcoin miners operating in Texas have shut off their machines as the companies brace for a heat wave that is expected to push the power grid near its breaking point.
Texas has become one of the largest hubs by computing power in the world. Hosting companies like Riot Blockchain Inc, Argo Blockchain Plc, and Core Scientific Inc operate millions of energy-intensive computers specifically made to secure the Bitcoin network.
Over 1,000 megawatts worth of Bitcoin mining turned off their machines in response to ERCOTs energy conservation request. Lee Bratcher, president of the Texas Blockchain Council responded to Bloomberg in an email. "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."
Bitcoin miners are expected to see a drop in profitability since the heat wave will send energy prices soaring. Miners are reportedly already struggling to repay debt and raise additional capital from the recent Bitcoin price decline.
Core Scientific CEO Mike Levitt said, “In troubled situations including the current Texas heat event, we have been curtailing power and will continue to curtail power as needed.” The company operates in six states, with less than 15% of its production located in Texas, he said.
Marathon Digital Holdings commented in a Tweet that Bitcoin miners are a non-rival buyer of energy that can modulate demand as needed which helps stabilize the grid.