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Bitcoin Mining, Data Centers Could Nearly Double Texas Power Demand By 2030

A new Electric Reliability Council of Texas forecast says the state’s power demand will nearly double by 2030, with most of the new demand coming from bitcoin mining and data centers.


ERCOT predicts power demand will increase to 150 gigawatts by 2030, up from 85 GW now, KVUE reported.

Sixty percent of the projected demand — 40 GW more than previously predicted — is from crypto mining and data centers, including some run by artificial intelligence, Lori Cobos of the Public Utility Commission of Texas told the Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee this week.

This startled politicians on both sides of the aisle, spurring questions about the accuracy of the forecasting model, why they hadn't been informed earlier and what power they have to limit AI business in Texas.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the state needs to take a close look at crypto miners and data centers, as Texans will ultimately pay the price for their power demand. 

“They produce very few jobs compared to the incredible demands they place on our grid,” Patrick wrote on the social media platform X. “Crypto mining may actually make more money selling electricity back to the grid than from their crypto mining operations.” 

There are only three legislative sessions between now and 2030. The state government had already been preparing for what it thought would be 110 GW of power demand.

The new forecast used a different, less conservative methodology, ERCOT Chief Operating Officer Woody Rickerson said, according to KVUE.

Sen. Donna Campbell, a Republican from New Braunfels, questioned whether the projection could increase again.

“AI’s just come on the scene, but who knows what’s next, even after that, that will consume even more?” Campbell said, according to KVUE. “Can we just say, ‘No, you can’t come’?”

The remaining 40% of the increased power demand will come from hydrogen production facilities and the expansion and electrification of existing industries, including oil and gas, Cobos said. Texas is also projected to reach a population of 50 million by 2050, up from 30 million.

Although rooftop solar panels and smart meters are recommended, bolstering supply won’t be enough to ensure power reliability, Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance Executive Director Matthew Boms said.

“From our perspective, you can’t solve this problem without working on the demand side of the solution,” Boms told KVUE. “How do we tackle energy efficiency, demand response and distributed energy resources in Texas, in a state that really needs every megawatt that it can get?” 

Texans still watch ERCOT news closely more than three years after its grid failed during a winter storm, leaving millions without power for days in freezing temperatures and contributing to hundreds of deaths.

Houstonians were reminded of the delicacy of their power system last month when a derecho tore through the city, knocking out power to nearly a million people. Those outages weren't caused by a grid failure, but it took more than a week to get power restored to some homes and businesses, and customers will help foot the bill for more than $100M in repairs.