Mason County joins Chelan County in the U.S. state of Washington to place a moratorium on new applications for cryptocurrency mining operations.
In a move to take time and evaluate the effect of energy-intensive crypto mining operations on local power resources, Mason County’s Public Utility District (PUD) has announced a moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations. The moratorium, which does not apply to existing approved applications, will extend to all “computer or data processing loads related to virtual or cryptocurrency mining, bitcoin, Blockchain or similar purposes,” the group said Wednesday.
Pointing to the influx of numerous mining operations moving in to take advantage of the area’s cheap power tariffs, power supply manager Michele Patterson revealed “a rush of cryptocurrency operations” taking base in the Pacific Northwest in recent times.
We need breathing room to study the local impact on power demands, the ability of the system to handle these energy-intensive operations, rate structure considerations, and protecting the power supply of existing customers.
Drawing comparisons, the official said a hospital or a large grocery store could use between 30 and 40 kWh/ square foot while ‘computer data processing’ can exceed 2,100 kWh per square foot. Safety and fire hazard concerns were also taken under consideration while placing the moratorium, the group added.
‘Other electric utilities have discovered “rogue” cryptocurrency operations set up in homes or commercial buildings, with no consideration for safety,’ the PUD’s statement added.
200 miles away to Seattle’s east, Chelan County enforced an entirely similar moratorium on new crypto mining operations last month after admitting to being ‘inundated’ with new applications. Officials claimed that the number of new applications in Q1 2018 was already nearing the entire total received last year. Chelan County’s PUD had notably enforced higher tariff ‘high-density load’ rates in mid-2017, a move to specifically address the vociferous appetite of cryptocurrency miners.
Elsewhere, officials from the city of Plattsburgh in New York addressed the possibility of banning crypto mining altogether due to fears of stretching its power resources. A month ago, the New York State’s public utility provider allowed municipal power authorities to charge higher power tariffs for crypto mining businesses.
Featured image from Shutterstock.