With its latest project, Bitcoin infrastructure company Blockstream seeks to increase the financial viability of renewable energy investments and improve energy production efficiency worldwide.
Dubbed Blockstream Energy, the project involves so-called modular mining units (MMUs), essentially small self-contained bitcoin mining facilities built into large containers that can be used as a remotely operated plug-and-play mining solution. With the MMUs, Blockstream aims to allow power producers to utilize surplus electricity at previously unviable hydro and solar hotspots, reducing the amount of energy that would otherwise go to waste.
Through the use of the Blockstream Satellite network, energy producers can operate and manage MMUs remotely from anywhere on the planet, regardless of how remote the energy site may be.
According to Our World In Data, coal, oil, and gas still make up the vast majority of global energy production, with most renewable sources such as solar and hydro being untapped in remote and off-grid locations where there is no incentive to build the costly infrastructure necessary to put this abundant natural energy to good use.
Remote bitcoin mining could allow for these stranded renewable sources to be converted into renewably sourced bitcoin, providing a profit-motive for energy producers and incentivizing development and infrastructure in critical isolated regions with abundant renewable energy.
Blockstream CEO Dr. Adam Back echoed a similar sentiment, stating that "much of the world’s usable renewable sources are concentrated in remote locations where there is little local demand and not much surrounding infrastructure.”
Blockstream Mining, a division of Blockstream, has been active since 2017, with the firm's bitcoin mining operations mainly using hydropower for its operations. In June, Blockstream announced a partnership with Jack Dorsey's Square to build an open-source, solar-powered Bitcoin mine.