Bitcoin mining to be performed beside Southland power station


Bitcoin trading, cryptocurrency, share market, investing, generic.

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Bitcoin trading, cryptocurrency, share market, investing, generic.

Energy start-up company Grid Share will begin operating a data centre performing Bitcoin mining at the Monowai Power Station in May, using renewable hydroelectric power.

The facility is a 2MW data centre that can be transitioned into cloud-based high performance computing in the future.

Grid Share chief executive Tom Algie said the partnership with Pioneer Energy was a “step towards supporting the transition to 100 per cent renewable energy in New Zealand”.

Algie said Grid Share would use the opportunity to test technology to ramp power consumption up and down in real time, which Bitcoin mining was suited for.

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“This will provide a powerful solution to the problem of integrating renewable generation with the electricity grid.”

Pioneer Energy contracting general manager Peter McClean confirmed it was working with Grid Share.

Grid Share was setting up a data centre “right next to” Pioneer’s Monowai Power Station, with the data centre connecting into the station for its electricity supply.

For Pioneer, it was an opportunity to trial something different, McClean said.

It was efficient for the power station to deliver electricity to an adjacent user, as it took power lines out of the equation, and the grid centre could be turned on and off reasonably quickly which was ideal given the Monowai Power Station was not on 100 per cent of the time, McClean said.

“The data centre is something that can use power close to the source because it has the ability to be turned off quickly if the power station isn’t generating, or needs to be cut back. So that’s what makes it different, that’s the driver for us.”

The data centre would take up to 30 per cent of the maximum electricity generated by the Monowai Power Station.

Steve Canny, the strategic projects general manager at Great South, Southland’s regional development agency, said Bitcoin peer to peer trade and data centres were attracted to Southland because of the cooler and ambient temperatures requiring less energy to cool the data processing equipment.

Algie said Grid Share was an energy start-up company and had completed an initial $2 million capital raise to launch its Monowai project. It was seeking further capital to fund it growth, he said.

The company was started by three Kiwi entrepreneurs, Algie, Sam Kivi and Craig Lusty with their vision “to accelerate renewable energy growth and become the premiere green blockchain and digital currency infrastructure company for New Zealand and abroad”.

Algie believed renewable energy expansion was not on track in New Zealand.

“Renewable energy production doesn’t match demand – we can’t tell the wind to blow so we can turn on the lights. This mismatch causes volatile energy markets and stalls renewable investment [which is] a growing issue as renewables increase.

“Renewables need a customer who can buy power when the grid doesn’t need it and turn off during peak periods.”



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