• Cryptocurrency mining driver for reopening Australian coal-fired plant

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

A 150 MW coal-fired power plant in the Australian state of New South Wales is to reopen on the strength of a deal to sell 20 MW of its output to crypto-miners, people who use computing power to help generate new cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. After rumours earlier this year of the Chinese government cracking down on crypto-miners due to the energy they consume and China’s serious air pollution problems, Chinese crypto-miners have been arranging to obtain computing resources in other countries. So far, Iceland and Switzerland have begun to supply energy to such miners, and Norway and Sweden may also soon be doing so. The Australian deal is somewhat unusual in that the electricity will bypass the grid and go straight to the crypto-miners, eliminating grid costs and allowing for cheaper electricity. Meanwhile, although the Digiconomist projects that worldwide crypto-mining will consume 120 billion kWh of electricity this year, there are counter reports that those figures are overestimates of the real case.