Almost all of Texas’ industrial-scale Bitcoin miners have come to a halt as the state tries to stave off power blackouts amid an intense heatwave, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
Bitcoin miners, including Riot, Argo, and Core Scientific, have shut down millions of computers in response to the heatwave that is expected to cause blackouts. Those Bitcoin miners were lured to Texas by lower energy bills.
Some have estimated that as much as 9% of the world’s cryptocurrency computing power is located in Texas, with America’s largest bitcoin mining operation located in the small town of Rockdale, Texas.
Bitcoin mining is an energy-intensive job. According to Columbia, the industry consumes 150 terawatt-hours of electricity every year-this is more than what the entire country of Argentina, a population of 45 million, consumes. This much energy emits 65 megatons of carbon dioxide every year into the atmosphere.
Earning bitcoin is achieved by computers running a series of complex calculations in order to find a solution to a math problem-a solution which is a string of numbers and letters that ultimately provide security for each Bitcoin transaction. These computers and their calculation efforts, and the cooling necessary to keep the machines running, are a significant drain on Texas’ energy grid, which has been struggling to keep the lights on during times of intense demand.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, asked Texans today to conserve energy amid the heatwave, appealing to both individuals and businesses alike. The target hours for reduced energy consumption are between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. ERCOT also suggested that there may be rolling blackouts.
This is the second time this year that the grid operator has asked for energy conservation amid a heatwave.
Houston’s mayor Sylvester Turner asked this weekend that city agencies be prepared for a possible power grid failure.