Europe’s Last Bitcoin Mining Refuge Is No Longer Viable

Miners moved to northern Norway and Sweden to avoid high energy costs. Now, power prices are surging there, too.

AccessTimeIconDec 22, 2022 at 3:18 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:05 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Bitcoin miners operating in northern Norway and Sweden, where they sought refuge from sky-high electricity prices earlier this year, are powering down for the winter as energy tariffs surge.

Just a few months ago, European miners flocked to the continent’s northernmost regions, which have among the cheapest power prices in the world due to abundant hydroelectric power and low demand, as prices across the continent soared. Some even left for the Americas. Now they’re facing record-high prices – and it is only the start of winter, when demand rises for heating.

  • Harlem Bitcoin Community Organizers Urge Action to Improve Crypto Regulations in New York
    Harlem Bitcoin Community Organizers Urge Action to Improve Crypto Regulations in New York
  • Touzi Capital CEO on BTC Mining, DeFi Yields, Environmental Concerns
    Touzi Capital CEO on BTC Mining, DeFi Yields, Environmental Concerns
  • New York State Bans Non-Renewable Crypto Mining
    New York State Bans Non-Renewable Crypto Mining
  • Earth Day 2022: Kevin O’Leary Discusses Crypto Mining and ESG
    Earth Day 2022: Kevin O’Leary Discusses Crypto Mining and ESG
  • December electricity prices in northern Norway have averaged 18 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) this year, about four times the average of the previous three years, data from the European power exchange Nordpool shows. In Sweden prices are more than three times as high.

    “It was a shocking alignment of events,” which squeezed the only available energy surplus in northern Norway and Sweden, pushing up tariffs, said Denis Rusinovich, co-founder of mining firms CMG Cryptocurrency Mining Group and Maverick Group.

    Late November was hit by a combination of low temperatures, which increased the demand for power; a distinct lack of wind that hampered power generation in the U.K., Norway, Sweden and Germany; and delays in scheduled nuclear plant maintenance in France, Sweden and Finland exacerbated by pressure on the supply of natural gas due to the conflict in Ukraine, Rusinovich said.

    The resulting jump in prices forced miners to turn off their machines to save on power costs. Some had shut down as early as mid-November, Rusinovich said.

    “We assess every day what the hourly prices are and if it's above or below breakeven, then we make a decision whether to switch on or off,” Kjetil Pettersen, CEO of Norway-based Kryptovault, told CoinDesk on Tuesday. “At this moment, our miners are shut off.” Kryptovault relocated to the north of the country earlier this year.

    Pettersen said he expects northern Norway power prices to come back down in the first quarter of 2023. Power prices across southern Europe, however, will stay high for 2023, he said.

    Miners will remain offline in Europe during the energy crisis as a means of self-preservation, Pettersen said. Whether they can survive without mining revenue depends on their reserve capital and ability to raise more funds, he said.

    Also pertinent: their level of debt.

    “If you need to reimburse capital, you cannot survive more than a couple of months because you need to repay the debt holders,” said Fiorenzo Manganiello, founder of UAE-based Cowa Energy, who also flagged Iceland as a viable option for mining.

    Unsustainable leverage has brought several miners in the U.S. to their knees. Large companies such as Core Scientific (CORZ) and Compute North have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

    Manganiello sees this as an opportunity to buy distressed assets.

    Mining sites are currently being sold at an 85%-90% discount, he said. During the bull market, miners were selling facilities, without mining machines, for $1.5 million per megawatt. Today, the figure is closer to $100,000 to $150,000 per MW, he said.

    CORRECTION (Dec. 22 16:35 UTC): Removes reference to Cowa Energy being London-based. Its holding company is based in the United Arab Emirates.


    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

    Eliza Gkritsi

    Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk contributor focused on the intersection of crypto and AI.

    Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.