Texas Bitcoin miners turn off due to power shortages caused by unseasonably hot weather

As soaring temperatures create high demand for power, Texas’ power grid operator asked residents to conserve electricity.

A stock photo featuring male hand turning off the lights at night.

Over the weekend, the temperatures were approaching 100°F (37°C) and are projected to remain in the 90°F-100°F range through the next week. The unusually hot weather drove the record demand for power used for air conditioning, which effectively led to six power plants going offline. The said power outrage resulted in the loss of about 2,900 megawatts of electricity, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas says.

Due to the power shortage, ECROT urges Texans to conserve electricity. Brad Jones, the ECROT CEO, asked residents to set their thermostats to 78 degrees or above and avoid using large appliances such as dishwashers, washers, and dryers during peak hours between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. through the weekend.

The Texas Blockchain Council, a trade association representing the bitcoin mining industry in Texas, announced today they would comply with the conservation notice issued by ERCOT. Some facilities will turn off entirely until the energy shortage problem is solved, while others will ramp down during the peak demand time and resume operations overnight when the network isn’t overloaded.

"In addition to bringing jobs and tax revenue to rural areas of Texas, many of which are in need of economic revitalization, the bitcoin mining industry also provides greater grid resilience by acting as a controllable load," said Lee Bratcher, the President of the Texas Blockchain Council. "Bitcoin miners can turn off within just a few seconds, which makes them a perfect resource for the grid regarding frequency balancing and demand response."

Center Point Energy Power Station, Houston Texas
Center Point Energy Power Station, Houston Texas.

Samantha Robertson, Business Development Lead at the crypto mining platform Bitdeer said the company would temporarily halt operations. "Due to unseasonably hot temperatures and unexpected drop in generation within the ERCOT system, Bitdeer powered down the entirety of our data center in Rockdale on Friday, except for capacity enrolled in responsive reserves. We expect that capacity to be called back and will immediately respond when prompted by ERCOT."

Cheap energy prices combined with mining-friendly policies made Texas a global hub for Bitcoin mining. Additionally, many Chinese facilities moved to Texas after the domestic regulatory crackdown on crypto mining. However, the latest crypto market crash will certainly decrease Bitcoin energy consumption as the reduced rewards for mining will cause many miners to drop out of the network.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, a non-profit energy organization that manages 90% of Texas' electrical grid, already found itself under heavy criticism last year, when cold weather left millions without power for days during the harsh winter. The power outrage resulted in more than 200 deaths, mostly from carbon monoxide poisoning from the use of portable generators.

ECROT assured that there is enough power for the current demand. “With unseasonably hot weather driving record demand across Texas, ERCOT continues to work closely with the power industry to make sure Texans have the power they need,” its press release reads.