Cryptocurrency mining is putting an undue amount of pressure on the electrical infrastructure of Douglas County, a small territory in Washington state, CNBC reports.
Crypto miners are flocking to Washington to take advantage of the state’s cheaper electrical costs, creating a need for more data infrastructure to keep up with the higher energy demand. The price per kilowatt of electricity is around four cents in Washington state, as opposed to the average of seven cents in the rest of the US.
Port of Douglas County Economic Development Manager Ron Cridlebaugh responded to the problem by stating plans to add 100 megawatts of data center infrastructure to the county.
Cridlebaugh said in his CNBC interview:
“Our infrastructure is actually being put to the test. We’re full…It’s going to take some time to catch up because growth has been so quick.”
A December 2017 study by the electrical supply company Crescent Electric (CESCO), named Louisiana as the cheapest US state for cryptocurrency mining — a low 9.87 cents per watt makes the cost of mining one Bitcoin about $3,224. According to the same study, Washington is the third cheapest state for mining, with the cost of mining one Bitcoin averaging $3,309.
The mining of Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital currencies has sparked debate over its environmental impact, with critics complaining about the costs and possible effects of such a high-energy endeavor. Opponents maintain that crypto mining is actually the lesser of two evils, arguing that fiat money production consumes more energy in comparison.