We are often told that the verification of bitcoin transactions eats a lot of energy. The largely inaccurate comparison to a small country, the size of Ireland or Denmark, is evoked thanks to numerous clickbait headlines. What mainstream media fails to explain, however, is that bitcoin mining is actually helping electricity producers prevent energy waste. Hydropower plants, for example, can generate and sell much more electricity during rainy seasons in some regions or when snow melts in others. Wastage can be mitigated through a symbiosis with bitcoin farms, at no additional cost for the environment.
Plum Rain Brings Life to China's Mining Industry
During the prolonged winter the crypto industry had to endure, the mining sector saw its profits diminish almost to the point of no return. After another of Bitcoin's prematurely pronounced deaths turned out to be a false alarm, miners are back exploring business opportunities. The days when mining companies were turning their ASIC rigs into scrap metal are gone.
With spring, prices unseen since last year returned to the crypto markets. In China, which controls a large portion of the global hashrate, the wet season, known in Eastern Asia as the 'plum rain,' brought lower electricity rates in provinces with developed hydroelectric infrastructure. The main ingredients in the recipe of profitable mining are back on the table. It's been reported that miners are once again buying ASICs.
When rain starts pouring in May, rivers and dams in China fill up pretty quickly. Hydroelectric stations reach their peak capacity producing more than local industry and households need. That prompts authorities and utilities in provinces such as the southwestern Sichuan to bring down electricity rates to as low as 0.2 yuan (around $0.03) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), stimulating the consumption of cheap and green energy produced by hydroelectric plants.
Beijing-based Bitmain is among the companies taking advantage of lower electricity prices by utilizing surplus hydro power generated in Sichuan during the spring and summer months. Back in March, Chinese media reported that the mining giant had deployed around 100,000 mining rigs in the region before the start of the rainy season, with plans to install another 200,000 devices within the next few months.
Using hydro power for coin minting, when water levels are at their highest, is a win-win situation for both crypto miners and electricity producers. The cooperation can be highly profitable not only for the bitcoin mining facilities but also for energy companies as it allows them to raise the efficiency of their power generating capacities and ultimately increase their revenue.
Hydropower Plants and Cryptocurrency Miners Mint Coins for Mutual Benefit
Hydroelectric generation provides a great way to use excess power for cryptocurrency mining and also fund renewable energy, commented Shaun Chong, mining product manager at Bitcoin.com. He also acknowledged that mining profitability has improved significantly with rising crypto prices. "Cloud mining sales do a lot better during bull markets," he said. The Bitcoin.com Pool is in partnership with mining datacenters in the U.S., Sweden and China. Chong noted: