In partnership with PLMA, this group is for practitioners from energy utilities, solution providers, and trade allies to share load management expertise and explore innovative approaches to program delivery, pricing constructs, and technology adoption.

Post

Can Crypto-mining Assist in Load Management?

Todd Carney's picture
Writer Freelance

Todd Carney is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Communications. He writes on many different aspects of energy, in particular how it...

  • Member since 2021
  • 65 items added with 12,817 views
  • Aug 17, 2022
  • 464 views

Last week Utility Dive had a piece looking at when utility providers and crypto miners could work together to help with load management. On the whole many people would consider that crypto mining is terrible for load management because of the amount of energy they use. Although there is a lot of evidence to back up this view, many argue that there are still situations where crypto miners could assist in balancing the grid. 

Some utility providers have sold a lot of energy upfront to get the boost right away, because of the likely chance that the crypto miner might move away within a few years and upset the balance. The utility provider can grow financially by selling to more financially profitable companies, which are often crypto miners.

In terms of the crypto miners’ need, it seems as though they will not endlessly need energy because at some point the energy will become too expensive. Given this reality, a crypto miner might be resistant to engage in a contract that requires more long-term use and no cap on rate charges. Still as crypto miners come further into development, miners and companies are working through additional ways to partner and overcome any logistical hurdles.

The piece went on to say that crypto can help the grid for a few reasons. First, crypto miners will be willing to decrease their demand during high use periods, and buy during low use periods. Additionally, crypto miners have flexibility unlike some person going through their daily routine or a small business that has to be open from 9 am to 9 pm, crypto mining’s flexibility sets it apart from other industries. The author even posited that there is a possibility that the flexibility on crypto miners’ part could lead to decreases in emissions. 

The author concluded by urging crypto miners and utility providers to continue to work together to develop ways to prevent problems that come from crypto mining, and to improve load management. This was a strong piece that covered a perspective not often seen in energy circles. Still, I feel it could have gone further in-depth on the drawbacks of cryptocurrency with grids. It would be particularly interesting to read about the situation in states such as Texas and California. I was at a panel a few weeks ago where one of the panelists claimed that cryptominers helped Texas get through struggles with their grid. It would be great to hear more on that claim.

 

Todd Carney's picture
Thank Todd for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Discussions
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 17, 2022

The best synergy is crypto mining being on demand consumption, where time doesn't really matter, and if done intelligently it won't even add to the overall grid load because it's just taking power that would otherwise be curtailed. Such installations are only the minority though, so it doesn't apply to the whole crypto market-- but it does represent a valuable tool on an individual basis

Jens Dalsgaard's picture
Jens Dalsgaard on Aug 17, 2022

Any potential means for dealing with the challenges lying ahead for grid operators should be investigated. So, thank you for this article.

Load management though must be a question of how to avoid grid congestion before overloading results in outages.

That is, right now and in near future forecasting load / DEG-production at the individual prosumer and then based on a detailed documentation of the grid - the digital twin - calculate loading of cables, overhead lines, transformers, ...

And following this, negotiating with prosumers and connected EV's (flexibility providers) to alter grid loading. 

So, whether one or the other part or technology does the magic, the starting point has to be utilities focusing on establishing a consolidated and comprehensive digital twin. I have previously posted this article here on energycentral on exactly this need to focus:

https://energycentral.com/c/iu/utility-leader-if-you-were-prioritize-one...

 

JESSE NYOKABI's picture
JESSE NYOKABI on Aug 17, 2022

This is the best synergy. Crypto mining is on demand-side consumption, if done intelligently it won't even add to the overall grid load because it's just taking power that would otherwise be curtailed. Can be incorporated into enhancing the flexibility of the grid through this demand-side management.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »