A crypto-currency mining data center in the state of South Australia will run primarily on electricity generated by solar power, according to a local media report. The minting facility has been set up in an area known for its energy-intensive iron ore mining and steel production.
A bitcoin farm will mine crypto-currencies using solar power and surplus energy in South Australia.
The “steel city“Whyalla in South Australia has welcomed a new crypto-currency mining facility that will run on electricity generated by solar power. Operated by Lumos Digital Mining, the 5-megawatt facility will mint bitcoins, a process often accused of being energy-intensive.
Australia’s national broadcaster ABC notes in an article that at a time when the world is trying to reduce energy consumption, Bitcoin mining uses more energy than medium-sized nations like Argentina. It echoes criticisms often highlighted by media outlets around the world.
Local officials see the solar-based crypto-currency mining project as proof that bitcoin production can be more environmentally friendly. Commenting on the venture, Nick Champion, Minister for Trade and Investment for the state of South Australia, said:
This is important to decarbonize blockchain, which is an energy-intensive industry. I think this is the start of a new economy here in Whyalla.
The government official also hopes to see other data centers mining crypto-currencies use renewable energy in the future. “There will be a demand for blockchain, but also for carbon-neutral blockchain, so I think we will see more and more facilities like this“, he predicts.
His statement comes after a recent report by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy estimated that crypto-currency production in the United States alone accounts for up to 0.3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a Lumos Digital Mining representative, the new crypto-currency farm can potentially mint about 100 BTC per year, depending on available power. Angelo Kondylas said the company could also sell some of its solar power to other consumers or increase crypto-currency production to use excess power from different sources when electricity production exceeds demand.
Angelo Kondylas pointed out that power generators can incur heavy losses when they shut down during times of low consumption. “We are basically like a sponge. We absorb the excess that is not used” he explained. The operator intends to eventually double the size of the mining facility.
Bitcoin mining using renewable and surplus energy has been gaining traction around the world, with growing investor interest in solar-powered currency mining projects in the U.S. and an increase in the capacity of associated petroleum gas (APG)-powered crypto-currency farms in Russia’s oil fields.