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ERCOT Payed Bitcoin Miners To Do Nothing During Texas Heatwave
Finally, something not Paxton related.
It turns out the Texas grid might be just as unstable as cryptocurrency, and despite many predictions of doom, ERCOT managed to keep the lights on and air conditioners running (albeit with several close calls.)
In light of recent electrical grid news, there’s an unexpected twist: corporate welfare for Bitcoin miners. While not the most egregious form of state-sanctioned handouts Texas offers, it’s disheartening knowing ERCOT administrators choose throwing money at random companies over actually fixing the grid.
One example particularly stood out: Colorado-based Riot Platforms, a dying blockchain group. In a nutshell, Texas is subsidizing a failing cryptocurrency operation to keep our electricity flowing.
During the crypto boom of 2021, Riot Platforms was raking in cash from bitcoin mining. Now the company is losing so much money that it’s counting on energy credits from selling power back to the Texas grid to keep its costs under control.
Riot said on Wednesday that it earned $31.7 million in energy credits last month from Texas power grid operator ERCOT. The company generated the credits by voluntarily curtailing its energy consumption during a record-breaking heatwave.
The total value of the credits dwarfed the 333 bitcoin the company mined in August, worth about $8.9 million dollars as of the end of the month.
“August was a landmark month for Riot in showcasing the benefits of our unique power strategy,” said Jason Les, CEO of Riot, in the company’s press release. “The effects of these credits significantly lower Riot’s cost to mine Bitcoin and are a key element in making Riot one of the lowest cost producers of bitcoin in the industry.”
It’s a dramatic strategy shift for Riot, whose revenue soared almost 8,000% in 2021 from booming demand for bitcoin. The crypto market reversed in 2022, leading to a net loss of over $500 million for the year. In the latest quarter, the company lost $27.7 million.
What preceded this you ask? After the 2021 “Holofrost,” Abbott, ERCOT, and the Texas Legislature earned well-deserved ire, and politicians needed to conjure something to pretend they “solved” everything. Almost a year later, ERCOT launched a “voluntary curtailment program,” for “large” customers. Unfortunately, normal people need not apply.
Riot Platforms was likely among those qualifying.
Regardless of your grid opinion, this goes to show current leadership would rather flush MILLIONS into out-of-state startups than disrupt the status quo. Those eight-digit totals would be more than enough for us to scrap disgusting wind farms and solar fields, and replace them with 100% reliable Texan natural gas, or innovate further and invest in nuclear (also very reliable.)
However, instead of scrapping unreliable energy sources, Texas leadership chose to waste more money on paying techies to use less electricity. In retrospect, this makes sense; why would they want Abbott, their apparent lord and savior, to lose one of his proudest benefactors who gave him an award just days before Texans endured mass-power failure.
Presently, I wouldn’t expect this “diet Green New Deal” to be aborted any time soon. Unfortunately, many “Republicans” are more concerned with coddling bigwigs and virtue-signaling, so rationality doesn’t register with them.
“Green energy” only exists at scale as a part of idiotic conspiracy to control the weather, ostensibly with the aim of creating a “static climate” or to bring about another ice age.
But don’t worry, paying a corporation millions of dollars to shut down isn’t likely to change this week’s weather forecast.
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