Demand Response: Texas Bitcoin Miners To Shut Operations To Alleviate The Grid


A heat wave is about to hit Texas, and the bitcoin mining community is doing its part. This is the moment where the demand response program shows what it can do for the Texan community, but that’s still not enough for mainstream media. The Bloomberg article about it doesn’t acknowledge that the bitcoin mining industry is the only one in history that can turn off its equipment at a moment’s notice, and to top it off it’s actually willing to do it. 

As it usually happens with mainstream media, Bloomberg uses every opportunity it gets to throw shots at the bitcoin mining community. “Millions of energy-intensive computers to secure the Bitcoin blockchain network,” they say, willfully ignoring the fact that this industry is actually subsidizing green energy infrastructure

The miners “flocked to the Lone Star State thanks to its low energy costs and liberal regulations on crypto mining,” they claim, without acknowledging the fact that Texas’ strategy is clearly paying off. “The miners are already struggling to repay debt and raise additional capital with Bitcoin prices in sharp decline. Shares of public miners have tumbled about 75% this year,” Bloomberg accuses. That much is true, but, will they print the opposite when the pendulum swings?

What’s Happening In Texas, Exactly?

The Bloomberg people are so oblivious that they don’t realize how positive their article actually is. “Nearly all industrial scale Bitcoin miners in Texas have shut off their machines as the companies brace for a heat wave that is expected to push the state’s power grid near its breaking point,” they inform us. And since Bloomberg won’t acknowledge it, we have to turn to bitcoin-focused podcaster Dennis Porter to assess the situation:

“Miners are shutting down in Texas today to help maintain grid stability during a heat wave. Bitcoin mining has become an important part of the grid in Texas. Soon it will be an integral piece of grid infrastructure all over the world.”

To put this in numbers, Bloomberg quotes the president of Texas Blockchain Association, Lee Bratcher:

“There are over 1,000 megawatts worth of Bitcoin mining load that responded to ERCOTs conservation request by turning off their machines to conserve energy for the grid. 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.”

As you would expect, mainstream media can’t print that without throwing some numbers as a counterpoint:

“While Texas is likely to face more energy shortages in the future, ERCOT expects crypto miners to increase electricity demand by up to six gigawatts by mid-2023, more than enough to power every home in Houston.”

The punchline of this joke is that even though mainstream media is doing such a terrible job, a lot of people still buy their skewed reporting. Click any of the tweets in this post and read the responses, it’s 2022 and people still don’t understand what’s happening around bitcoin mining. Luckily, Bitcoinist is here to help.

BTCUSD price chart for 07/12/2022 - TradingView

BTC price chart for 07/12/2022 on Timex | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com

What’s Happening Around Bitcoin Mining?

As investor and podcaster Preston Pysh recently asked, “Hey Texas, how did it feel knowing you had enough excess power margin to keep the businesses running? It’s nice having a Bitcoin mining capacitor that buys up the excess margin when it’s not needed.” The key part of Pysh’s statement is “when it’s not needed.” Bitcoin miners are buyers of first and last resort. What does this mean? 

At the moment, Texas needs the energy and the bitcoin miners are turning off their equipment. Under normal environmental conditions, they buy all of the excess energy available. This opens up a world of possibilities for energy companies, as they can now try their luck at new forms of energy production. 

The author of this very telling study, ESG Analyst and ClimateTech VC Daniel Batten can explain this. He recently tweeted, “With the highest composition of Bitcoin miners of any grid, and one of the fastest growing solar & wind trends, Texas is a snapshot of our electricity future. The two events are not coincidental. Bitcoin mining has aided fast growth of renewables & load balanced their intermittency.”

Bitcoin mining is subsidizing those solar and wind energy farms and, as promised, turning down the machines when the state of Texas needs it. Those are just the facts.

Featured Image by Enrique Macias on Unsplash | Charts by TradingView

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