Former coal mine is now mining Bitcoin for a utility company, and all sustainably. Bitcoin mining has been highly criticized for the large amount of energy it consumes globally, an amount that even exceeds the electricity use of countries such as the Netherlands or Argentina but that could also be used sustainably.
Reporting from Arstechnica, a public service company is testing a new tool to manage variability in the network, taking refuge in the mining of Bitcoins.
Specifically, Ameren Missouri, a utility company in St Louis, began mining cryptocurrencies in April by tapping into a coal-fired power plant, when demand was low and electricity was cheap.
Company executives see it as something of a pilot project aimed at helping match electricity demand with intermittent power supply as more wind and solar projects come online.
They state that mining Bitcoin could reduce their carbon footprint by allowing them to operate their plants in a more consistent way rather than having to scale up and down. They claim that depending on the demand of all operations, they can transfer energy in as little as 20 seconds from one operation to another.
Ameren Missouri notes that if her Bitcoin mining experiment works in this converted coal mine, it could connect other data centers similar to wind and solar farms to absorb excess electricity more profitably, in times of high supply or low demand.
They state that they have been able to mine 20 Bitcoin so far, and the company would have made around $ 800,000 since this pilot project started in April.
This coal power plant that is being used in the Bitcoin mining experiment is scheduled to close in 2028.