A customer-owned utility company has received some attention in the crypto community for its acceptance of applications for mining and blockchain operations. However, a news report by the Seattle Times indicated that the utilities company will no longer be accepting applications.
Although the company has not made clear its reasoning behind its non-acceptance of applications, it is likely that the relevant district is concerned about the impact on mining on the electrical system. For example, the Franklin Public Utility District (PUD) approved a moratorium that will allow staff time to investigate the impact of mining on the electrical system. Thereafter, if it is found that there is no adverse impact, acceptance of applications will resume.
Miners have been drawn to rural areas, where there is not a great deal of pressure on the grid. However, on the downside, their gravitation toward such areas does ultimately cause pressure. Their actions have been scrutinized by local regulators and power utility companies, who are rightly concerned about the long-term impact of mining on residents and business’ power supply.
A few months back, a Chelan PUD, another public utility company in rural Washington, ordered its staff to enforce a moratorium on crypto mining after discovering unauthorized mining activities. The activities led to concern about the safety of the state and electric system. Enforcement measures to ensure compliance have been put in place, such as fine, penalties, and being disconnected from services.
Similar to the activities taking place in Washington state, New York has been having its own issues. In July, state regulators approved a new electricity rate scheme for crypto miners to allow contract negotiation. This move will allow 36 municipal power authorities to charge higher rates to crypto miners than traditional consumers. Further, the contracts will be considered on a case-by-case basis so that a fair scheme is implemented.
These approaches do not mean that all are treating crypto mining in this way. The Port of Walla Walla, Washington took a different stance, agreeing to a land lease and purchase option for ten acres for cryptocurrency mining. The project, headed by Bitmain, a subsidiary of Ant Creek LLC, will head the mining operations. The project may also promote the creation of jobs and enable the area to meet its tax base creation goals.