Bitcoin Miner Compass to Open 95% ‘Clean’ Power Site in Canada
Compass Mining Inc. is expanding further in Canada while aiming to make Bitcoin mining greener and more accessible to individual transaction processors.
The Bitcoin miner is partnering with Red Jar Digital Infrastructure, a hosting infrastructure company, to open an Ontario-based facility that will more than double Compass’ existing mining capacity. Roughly 95% of the power to the facility will come from “clean” energy in the form of nuclear and hydropower energy, Compass Chief Executive Officer Whit Gibbs said.
“The emphasis is always on where can we find cheap, reliable and renewable sources of energy,” when expanding operations, said Gibbs by phone from Latvia.
The process of using extensive computer networks to verify Bitcoin transactions in exchange for new coins that is known as mining has drawn harsh criticism for its high levels of energy consumption. The issue was put under a spotlight earlier this year when Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk tweeted about Bitcoin’s environmental toll and cited it as one of the reasons he decided to stop accepting the coin as payment for his company’s cars. Analysts at the time said the energy use from crypto miners was comparable to that of many developed countries.
Crypto supporters have emphasized the growing shift toward renewable power as a sign the Bitcoin network is evolving to be more environmentally friendly. A majority of the network was concentrated in China and heavily powered by coal energy, but the nation’s ban on mining operations has opened doors for new entrants who may be more willing to prioritize “clean” energy.
In July, Compass announced a partnership with power-startup Oklo Inc. to introduce nuclear fission to mining. As for the Ontario facility, the company is considering ways of making the remaining 5% of power to the facility greener as well, said Gibbs.
The energy that will be used to power the Ontario facility will come from spillover sources, meaning it wouldn’t likely be used elsewhere and could go to waste.
The use of green energy is becoming even more important to Compass as it expands its services to retail miners, who Gibbs says may prioritize renewable energy more than institutional miners do.
“This is a big step for the retail mining industry,” Gibbs said. “Compass has worked with facilities that are 100 megawatts. However, normally those sites will carve out, 5, 15, 20 megawatts for Compass customers. In this case, we’re going to have 100 megawatts dedicated” to both large and individual miners.
Mining in the new facility is set to start by the end of January, though Gibbs said the full 100-megawatt capacity will be built out slowly over the next several quarters.
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