In April 2018 Crypto Disrupt reported on an initiative in New South Wales, Australia, to power up a disused coal-fired power station to provide up to 20 MW of electricity directly to blockchain related businesses. The blockchain businesses will be located right next to the power station, and most of them will be mining cryptocurrencies with the help of the discounted cost of onsite electricity.
Another crypto mining venture in the country was approved April 24, 2018, in Collie, Western Australia. With a proposed construction cost of AU $16 million the planning application was outside the remit of the local council and required the consent of the Government of Western Australia’s Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP). In a very detailed 189 page report, the planning application and review outlines the photovoltaic (PV) solar system that will be constructed on the edge of the town. A fifty-seven hectares plot of land, to be purchased by Hadouken Pty Ltd, will house 69,000 solar panels across 18 hectares of the site.
It will generate 20 MW of solar energy for Hadouken Pty Ltd to mine cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum. The planning application states the facilities will have an operational lifespan of 25 years. Construction of the PV solar system is scheduled to take up to six months and will represent one of the largest solar-powered, crypto mining projects in Australia. As with almost all large planning developments, there were objections raised by a handful of residents, but approval was given, in part, due to the proximity of the site to the Collie Western Power Sub-Station.
Cryptocurrency mining from renewable energy supplies such as solar power and hydroelectric sources are much more acceptable to ecologists than using fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. Some ecologists would argue that cryptocurrencies that use the proof of work (PoW) protocol to validate blockchain transactions should switch to protocols that require considerably less energy like proof of stake (PoS). As part of the Casper upgrade for Ethereum, it will switch from a pure PoW protocol to a hybrid PoS system but with a long-term goal of implementing a full PoS protocol in due course. At present, Bitcoin developers don’t have any plans to move away from the PoW protocol, but that may change over time if the global energy used to mine the crypto continues to increase at the current rate.
Financial analyst, smartphone app designer, technical writer, and crypto enthusiast. Blockchain verified graduate of MOOC 9, DFIN-511: Introduction to Digital Currencies, run by the University of Nicosia.