Australia’s largest bitcoin mine is to set up shop in Byron Bay after sealing a deal with renewable energy provider Quinbrook Infrastructure partners.
The mine, owned by Mawson Infrastructure Group, will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy and lays out the blueprint for other bitcoin mines around the country.
The mining operation will add 0.4 exahash to Mawson’s global mining ‘horsepower’ capacity and will become Australia’s largest onshore bitcoin mining operation.
What are bitcoin mines?
Bitcoin mines are essentially data centres that mine cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is a decentralised cryptocurrency that does away with banking transactions through the use of the blockchain immutable ledger.
The process of time-stamping files revolves around the solving of complex algorithms that require very high amounts of computer power in the form of Graphics Cards.
The immutable ledger relies on time-stamped files that are verified by other computers, or nodes.
Once the algorithm is solves and the new time-stamped file is verified by other computers, the miner is issued with a bitcoin for their efforts.
In June 2021, Elon Musk sent bitcoin and the crypto market into freefall, after pulling back from a Tesla decision to accept crypto as tender, citing environmental concerns.
Bitcoin miners convened in the meantime and discussed ways to make the process more energy-efficient, leading to Musk announcing that Tesla would still hold onto its bitcoin trove.
The market has since recovered and soared to new all-time highs.
But bitcoin’s energy consumption is still a matter of concern. At 122 TWh, it is above Argentina (121 TWh), the Netherlands (108.8 TWh) and the United Arab Emirates (113.20 TWh) – and it is gradually creeping up on Norway (122.20 TWh). Australia consumed 192 TWh in 2019-2020.
Bitcoin mines around the world are transitioning to 100 percent renewable power, but the process has been slow.
Why is Australia’s largest bitcoin mine renewable power and why Byron?
Bitcoin mines can power up and down very quickly, meaning that they can take advantage of cheap power when demand is low, normally during the day when solar energy floods into the grid.
Conversely, they can power down and put ‘virtual energy’ back into the grid when demand is high.
The deal was announced just days after a report by Australia Technology and Finance Centre tabled a report recommending that Australian bitcoin miners should benefit from a 10 percent company tax discount if they source their own renewable energy.
Manning chose to source power from Quinbrook because of its portfolio of biomass power generators in the Cape Byron area.
Byron has been something of a trailblazer in the renewable energy innovation field, operating a solar-powered converted Red Rattler train.
Mawson Group recently purchased 4000 bitcoin mining rigs, which it hopes will increase operational capacity by 11.7 percent in Q2 2022.
Quinbrook and Mawson have negotiated a profit-sharing arrangement after direct operating costs.
Are you looking for help powering your cryptocurrency mining operation?
It’s possible to power your mining rig more efficiently so you can minimise the cost of electricity. If you wish to do so, here are some things you’ll need to take note of.
- Usage Analysis: Current and expected electricity demand of your operation. Analysis based on Time of Day and Time of Year
- Location specification: Location of your rigs in terms of state, network and distance from generation.
- Electricity Procurement: Selection of appropriate electricity suppliers who can provide a suitable contract structure as well as low rates.
- Demand Response Procurement: Identification and negotiation of a Demand Response product.
- Technology: To monitor and control electricity usage of your cryptocurrency mining site.
Leading Edge Energy can assist you with all of these. As an energy management consultant and broker, we have a specialised, holistic process that ensures we leave no stone unturned in helping clients from a variety of industries, including cryptocurrency mining operations, achieve their energy efficiency goals.
Want to get started? Fill out our form, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1300-852-770 for an obligation-free consultation and let’s talk about how you can manage your energy costs during the pandemic.