New Texas Crypto Mining Campus To Use 1 Gigawatt Of Energy, Enough To Power A City
A planned cryptocurrency mining data center campus in Texas will use as much energy as a small city, as the Lone Star State continues to go all-in on crypto.
Riot Blockchain has started construction on a massive cryptocurrency mining data center campus just south of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex that will use 1 gigawatt of power, the company announced last week.
The first phase of the project, already underway on 265 acres in Navarro County, will use 400 megawatts — already substantial energy usage, even by the standards of hyperscale data centers. According to a report in Data Center Dynamics, the campus’s full capacity of 1 gigawatt equates to the amount of used to power 800,000 homes. This makes it one of the world’s largest crypto mining data centers, adding to a growing list of miners flocking to a state that is aggressively courting them.
“This expansion is a testament to the company’s demonstrated ability to build and deliver high-quality large-scale digital asset infrastructure for its Bitcoin mining operations and future hosted clients," Riot CEO Jason Les said in a release.
Build-out on the campus has already begun, according to Colorado-based Riot, which specializes in mining bitcoin and providing mining services to institutional investors. The first phase of construction will include four data center buildings, electrical substations and transmission lines, with an expected cost of $333M.
Riot says it plans to use power from utility Priority Power, which also supplies energy to the company’s other large Texas mining campus. That 400-megawatt facility, located in the town of Rockdale, is currently being expanded to around 700 megawatts of capacity.
While many communities throughout the U.S. and around the world have been skeptical of cryptocurrency mining operations due to their enormous power usage and the volatility of the currencies themselves, Texas has been aggressively positioning itself as a global hub for miners. This despite a famously shaky power grid that experienced deadly blackouts just over a year ago.
Political leaders including Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbot have openly courted miners, particularly in the wake of China banning such operations last year. While states like New York mull banning crypto data centers, Texas operators can expect tax breaks and few regulations.
These enticements have successfully attracted miners. According to Bloomberg, Texas grid operator ERCOT expects Texas miners to be using 6 gigawatts by 2023, enough electricity to power every home in Houston. Almost all of these mining operations are hoping to tap into the grid, as opposed to exclusively providing their own power.
Other government agencies in Texas are getting in on the bitcoin craze more directly. In Fort Worth, the city’s government plans to start mining bitcoin itself in its own data center in City Hall. The six-month pilot program will use a trio of mining rigs donated by a cryptocurrency industry group.
Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker acknowledged the program is less about income for the city and more about marketing the region to cryptocurrency mining companies.
“With blockchain technology and cryptocurrency revolutionizing the financial landscape, we want to transform Fort Worth into a tech-friendly city,” Parker said, according to Data Center Dynamics. “These small but powerful machines mark Fort Worth’s larger commitment to becoming a leading hub for technology and innovation.”