Democrats are urging Texas energy regulators to disclose how much energy crypto mining companies are using from the state’s fragile electrical grid nearly a year after it went out in an extreme winter storm.
In the Wednesday letterSenator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and six other Democrats urged the Texas grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, to provide information about how much electricity crypto mining operations have consumed and how much carbon dioxide emissions they have over the past six years.
“I’ve worked for the past year to make sure the public understands the economic and climate risks of crypto,” Warren said in a statement to The edge on Wednesday. “The energy consumption of cryptominers is comparable to that of entire countries, and taxpayers — in Texas or anywhere else in the country — should not subsidize their profits, especially when the energy grid is on the brink of collapse.”
“The energy consumption of cryptominers is comparable to that of entire countries, and taxpayers — in Texas or anywhere else in the country — should not subsidize their profits, especially when the energy grid is on the brink of collapse.”
Lawmakers also want to know how much Texas regulators pay mining companies to reduce energy consumption during peak hours. In August, Bloomberg reported that the Texas-based crypto mining companies made millions of dollars in state credit for shutting down operations during an extreme summer heat wave. One company, Riot Blockchain, received about $9.5 million in credit last July alone, Bloomberg reported.
Over the past decade, about 30 crypto mining companies have established themselves in Texas, encouraged by acres of open land, low state taxes, and cheap energy. according to the Texas Tribune. Crypto mining is predicted to increase network demand by more than 27 gigawatts by 2026, according to a July roadside report.
That increasing intensity for energy has terrified critics who fear the crypto industry’s growing demand could further cripple the state’s already fragile power grid. In February 2021, Texas power grid crashed during an extreme winter stormresulting in hundreds of deaths.
“Cryptoming adds significant demand to an already unreliable network. . . and contribute to the global climate crisis,” lawmakers wrote in Wednesday’s letter.
Still, these concerns have not stopped Republicans like Texas Governor Greg Abbott from inviting crypto mining companies to move to the state.
“Count me as a supporter of crypto bill,” Abbott tweeted last year. “Texas should lead the way in this, as we did with a gold deposit.