Texas officials have been urging crypto currency-miners to move their operations to the Lone Star State. The campaign is working so well that applications for power hook-ups are piling up to a level far above what state power authorities estimated just four months ago.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, miners have asked the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to use up to 33 gigawatts of electricity over the next decade, a draw that’s a third larger than what ERCOT’s CEO estimated in April. To put that in perspective, 33 gigawatts would be enough to power all of New York state.
After suffering through disastrous power outages that factored into a 246-person death toll during a bitterly cold storm in Feb 2021, Texans couldn’t be blamed for wringing their hands a little over the prospect of miners seeking so much energy.
An ERCOT spokeswoman assured Bloomberg that the organization expects to have sufficient output to meet surging demand. The stakes are high: Unlike other states that can lean on neighbors in times of stress, Texas operates its own, independent electric grid that makes most of the state an electricity island unto itself.
The Texas campaign to woo crypto miners has centered on the state’s friendlier regulatory climate, cheap electricity and substantial renewable-energy sources. Per kilowatt-hour, commercial customers pay about a third less than the national average.
“It also has more wind power than any other state, which is appealing to miners pushing to appear more environmentally friendly,” write’s Bloomberg’s Naureen S Malik.
Miners claim they’re ideal power customers, ready to devour excess wind and solar energy when it’s abundant, but also flexible enough to shut down when the grid is under strain.
That flexibility can pay off big: In July, Riot Blockchain collected a stunning $9.5 million in credits for shutting down its Texas mining rigs as the state faced a historic heat wave and energy was at a premium.
“By reducing power consumption by 21% last month, Riot got ERCOT to pay 100% of its electricity bill. So even though the company created fewer bitcoins in July, the company made about $7 million more than it would have if it had not curtailed its operations,” reported the Houston Chronicle.
No wonder crypto miners are rushing to Texas.