An Australian tech firm, IOT Group, has partnered with energy provider Hunter Energy to recommission a power station in a bid to become “the first in Australia to offer pre-grid cost effective power prices to blockchain operators”.
The Redbank power station near Singleton, rated at 150 megawatts, was closed in 2014 due to bankrupted owners unable to pay an accrued debt of USD 192 million. Hunter Energy claims to have “reached an agreement to acquire the existing Redbank Power station currently in care and maintenance mode”.
The re-commissioning could see the station become the “new Silicon Valley” in Australia. They plan to offer up space on the site to host data centers with direct access to power. Bypassing the grid will mean clients will be able to purchase wholesale electricity tariff’s straight from the power station.
Companies looking to implement blockchain solutions have been discouraged from Australia due to more expensive power tariffs. Cheap electric within a country open to crypto and innovation will be more than enough to entice new blockchain business. The aim would be to recommission the Redbank station by 2019.
Problems with coal and possible solutions
Blockchain technology has a very high energy demand. To uphold the principles of enhanced security and irrefutable data, a network of nodes and miners consisting of many computers are used to verify and record transactions in a block. As per Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, Bitcoin’s current estimated energy consumption is already at 60.51 TWh. That’s more consumption than what is recorded by 159 countries.
A good coal power station creates on average around 900 kg of CO2 per megawatt-hour. Redbank previously was reported at 1,000 kg CO2 per megawatt-hour. This is why countries like China are bringing in legislation to reduce large-scale cryptocurrency mining as cities like Beijing are suffering from heavy pollution from coal-powered stations.
Hunter Energy says “they are exploring battery and solar on the site as part of the transitional energy change”. The project is funding the renovation and future development of an unused power station as well as a possible renewable change over. Coal power stations can be adapted to burn rubbish or waste, further adding to the ability to produce cheap electricity.
This may not be as green as the hydro-electric mining in Sweden and Norway but could be the steps prior to a better solution. The development of this project will bring blockchain business into Australia as well bring money and work to the area.