Bonner and Butte, Montana are home to two of the largest bitcoin mining facilities in North America. They're also subject to a major energy producer in the state, the Colstrip power plant, which is due to be shut down. Bitcoin mining has become such a potential windfall for the state economy, one of its congressional representatives, Senator Steve Daines, openly worried closing of the plant could kill its crypto golden goose.
US Senator from Montana Defends Bitcoin Mining
"As the demand for Bitcoin miners increases and supply of cheap reliable electricity from coal generation decreases," Senator Daines explained during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meeting in Washington, DC, "this could pose a threat of the expansion of Bitcoin generation and even greater threat to energy supply and prices for Montana as a whole."
Senator Steve Daines
For example, Butte, Montana is home to the Crypto Watt LLC mining center. Having taken over an industrial site, it relies on the coal-fire powered Colstrip plant for 64 megawatts of power, making it one of the hungriest users of energy in the entire state. Senator Daines explained the plant is scheduled for a shutdown in less than ten years, and if all four of the plant's sectors are shuttered that could well end Montana's bitcoin mining industry.
Such an enlightened posture by the state's politicos is hardly new. Last summer, its governor announced close to half a million dollars would be awarded as a grant to bitcoin miner Project Spokane for business growth, job creation, and employee training.