Mason County, a county in the U.S. state of Washington, has put a hold on Bitcoin mining. The Public Utility District (PUD) 3 passed a moratorium which includes “computer or data processing loads related to virtual or cryptocurrency mining, Bitcoin, Blockchain, or similar purposes.”
According to PUD 3 power supply manager, Michele Patterson, the county needs some time to think about the effects of cryptocurrencies since the Pacific Northwest has seen extreme growth in crypto-related activities.
We need breathing room to study the local impact on power demands, the ability of the system to handle these energy-intensive operations, rate structure considerations, and protecting the power supply of existing customers.
A large grocery store or hospital uses between 30 and 40 kilowatt-hours per square foot. Computer data processing can use over 2,100 kilowatt-hours per square foot.
Since, miners have set up work at their homes, they use enormous computing power which may be dangerous for their neighbors. If the power load increases beyond an equipment’s capacity, fire may break out. This is risky where commercial buildings are considered, as one disaster could lead to further damages. Mason County is planning to study more about cryptocurrencies as well as its operational effects on communities.
Last month, Chelan County, announced that it was no longer accepting applications for cryptocurrency mining. Steve Wright, general manager of PUD, said “impacts from cryptocurrency mining applications are hampering responses to the District’s overall planned work, and threatens the county’s electric grid capacity to meet planned growth.” The department also found “rogue” cryptocurrency operators who were using heavy computing equipment in their apartments.
The same month, Plattsburg city, implemented a ban on cryptocurrency mining because it increased electricity bills for locals. The mayor, Colin Read, said, “We could use 100 megawatts in two months’ time if we opened up the floodgates.” A cheap electricity rate is the common variable in these three places. Miners are willing to pay more to officials so that they can use more computing power for less money.