This week, officials in Grant County, Washington, have voted to raise the electricity bills of companies that are classified to be in “evolving” industries. However this seems to be a veiled attempt to curb cryptocurrency mining in the rural county.
The process of mining Bitcoin is extremely power consuming, and of course when so much energy is being used, you will run up the electric bill. This leaves miners always on the look for the areas with the lowest energy costs.
Grant County Washington is home to the Grand Coulee Dam, which is the biggest hydropower facility in the United States, and provides locals with some of the best power rates in the country.
According to the United States Energy Information Administration the average cost of energy in the United States is about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. In Grant County miners were able to pay as little as 2.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Now with new laws being put in place miners will be forced to pay 7.9 cents per kilowatt-hour.
This is still significantly below the national average, and many Washington state counties that pay as much as 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, keeping Grant Count a favorable place to mine cryptocurrency.
The new laws were explained in a press release from Grant County officials.
“The new rate compensates Grant PUD for extra risk and obliges evolving-industry customers to pay more than the cost to supply their power — just as Grant PUD’s other big power-users do — to subsidize sustainable below-cost rates for residential, irrigation and small and medium-sized business customers.”
While officials aren’t claiming to be against cryptocurrency and miners, the move obviously is being made to cater to the cryptocurrency community.
“I don’t view miners as villains,” said Commissioner Larry Schaapman, as quoted by a county press release. “You have likened yourselves to the data centers, but you can only do one thing — mine bitcoin.”
Grant has seen a surge in crypto miners arriving in the county. The county and surrounding areas with similar low cost energy advantages are facing a changing population and will have to find a middle ground with this “evolving industry” if they hope to harvest the economic pluses that come with the infusion of new business ventures.