Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Bitcoin mining demands on energy getting real as it begins to threaten the livelihood of citizens in a New York city

Thanks in part to 'Bomb Cyclones' and other extreme weather events that have ravaged the East Coast this winter, energy supplies and even strains on local power grids are manifesting themselves in places like Boston and New York.  And when you add in the growing consumption that cryptocurrency mining rigs are demanding from municipal power stations, you potentially create  scenarios that can be life threatening, or at the very least taxing to the day to day activities of local residents.

And now one such city in the state of New York is drawing the line at the growing demand for power from cryptocurrency miners and preparing legislation for an 18-month moratorium on these operations.

In upstate-New York, the City of Plattsburgh is moving toward installing a moratorium on commercial cryptocurrency mining operations, amid concerns from the council that it could drain the city’s electricity supplies. 
The WaterTown Daily Times reports that the problem is that mining for cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, absorbs a tremendous amount of energy in generating the virtual currency. Municipal Lighting Department Manager Bill Treacy says there are two mining farms in the city that they know of – one in the former Imperial Mill and one in Skyway Plaza, and there may be some smaller private mining operations in households in the city, he said. 
The mining farms in the City of Plattsburgh have cropped up over the past year, officials say; and at 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. 
This is a problem because, 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. 
At one time, the city was touted as having some of the lowest rates in the nation. 
But when 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. – Silver Doctors


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