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Miner Reopens Coal-Fired Power Plant in Cheap Energy Quest

An Australian tech company recommissioned an old coal power plant to provide cheap energy for cryptocurrency mining.

Apr 12, 2018 at 8:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:49 a.m. UTC

An Australian technology firm will reopen a coal-fired power plant just to run a blockchain, according to a Tuesday report.

IOT Group, an Australian technology firm, has partnered with Hunter Energy to recommission the Redbank power plant - which was shuttered in 2014 - to reduce its energy costs, a local media outlet reported. The companies expect that IOT's new energy bill will be reduced by 20 percent through using the facility, compared to its current costs.

IOT's decision to go "behind the grid" is part of a larger trend within the cryptocurrency sector, according to a company statement. Proof-of-work blockchains, such as bitcoin and ethereum, consume massive amounts of energy through mining due to the mathematical problems the network must solve.

For example, the bitcoin network consumes roughly as much energy as the nation of Colombia, according to an estimate by Digiconomist.

Stepping back, the move is part of a broader trend where miners are investing more and more computing power in their operations. In order to boost their profit margins, they've also sought out cheaper and cheaper sources of energy. Washington state and Quebec have become choice destinations for mining operations, due to the cheap hydroelectric power each area provides.

The company has also added two experienced cryptocurrency miners to its IOT Blockchain advisory board in recent months.

IOT Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Power plant image via Shutterstock.

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