A data center for cryptocurrency mining in the South Australian state will run primarily on solar-generated electricity, according to a local media report. The coinage facility was set up in an area known for its energy-intensive iron ore mining and steel production.
A bitcoin farm is going to mine cryptocurrencies using solar power and surplus energy in South Australia.
There “city of steel” from Whyalla in South Australia has hosted a new cryptocurrency mining facility that will run on solar-generated electricity. Operated by Lumos Digital Mining, the 5-megawatt facility will mine bitcoins, a process often accused of being energy-intensive.
Australian 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 mid-sized nations like Argentina. It echoes criticism often put forward by the media around the world.
Local authorities see the solar-powered cryptocurrency mining project as proof that bitcoin production can be more environmentally friendly. Commenting on the company, Nick Champion, Minister for Trade and Investment for the State of South Australia, said:
It’s important to decarbonize the blockchain, which is a very energy-intensive industry. I think it’s the start of a new economy here in Whyalla.
The government representative also hopes to see other data centers mining cryptocurrencies using renewable energy in the future. “There will be a demand for blockchain, but also for carbon neutral blockchain, so I think we’ll see more and more installations like this“, he predicts.
His statement comes after a recent report from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy found that the production of cryptocurrencies in the United States alone accounts for up to 0.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a representative from Lumos Digital Mining, the new cryptocurrency farm can potentially mint around 100 BTC per year, depending on the available power. Angelo Kondylas said the company could also sell some of its solar energy to other consumers or increase the production of cryptocurrencies to use excess energy from different sources when electricity production exceeds demand.
Angelo Kondylas pointed out that electricity generators can suffer heavy losses when they switch off during periods 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 gained traction around the world, with growing investor interest in solar-powered coin mining projects in the United States and an increase of the capacity of cryptocurrency farms powered by associated petroleum gas (APG) in the oil fields of Russia.