A 124-year old hydroelectric plant is using its power to mine Bitcoin

mongeese

Posts: 515   +110
Staff member
In a nutshell: Mechanicville hydroelectric plant, near Albany NY, is roughly the oldest renewable power plant still in service in America. Nowadays, it uses its mostly original equipment from 1897 to power a Bitcoin mining farm.

In the 1980s, the National Grid was considering shutting down the defunct plant when Albany Engineering Corp. agreed to operate it under a 40-year lease if the National Grid would purchase its electricity. It took Albany Engineering seven years to acquire all the right licenses, and the moment they had, the Grid reneged on their deal.

"National Grid called me up the next day and said, we’re not going to honor this contract. And if you don’t like it, take it to the judge," Jim Besha, the CEO of Albany Engineering, told the Albany Times Union. And so he did.

A decade later, they reached a settlement, and the National Grid had to surrender ownership of the plant and pay for it to be repaired after a fire and a flood had wreaked havoc while it was unattended. The plant reopened in August 2003.

But this year, Albany Engineering started using some of its electricity. When they sell to the Grid, they’re paid about 3 cents per kilowatt-hour, but they earn triple that when they’re mining Bitcoin. "We’re just doing it on the side, experimenting with it," Besha said. "We’re buying used servers."

Besha is cashing out the Bitcoin at the end of every week instead of holding on to it. He’d prefer to be selling the renewable electricity to real people, he says, but running a historic power plant isn’t cheap.

Image credit: Paul Buckowski, Albany Times Union

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quadibloc

Posts: 306   +194
If they can't be profitable sellilng their power at normal rates, but Bitcoin mining is profitable enough that they can make money without a carbon footprint, then there's nothing to complain about.
It would be preferable if it were reducing carbon consumption by the grid, but if it can't produce power cheaply enough to do that, well, it can't.
 

SixTymes

Posts: 155   +102
Man, people whining about "ruining" the ecosystem because of non-renewable energies mining crypto (or something broad and stupid like that)...

...And now that this place is mining with 100% renewable, said people are just whining.

Can't win with ignorant people... lol
True! good point.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 313   +299
I feel this should be made illegal. If every power company decides to sell power to miners, then people that need power for real work are going to suffer, I.e. paying more or not getting enough. This simply shows how much greed there are in this world.
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,933   +6,264
Can't win with ignorant people... lol
You are absolutely correct. We are however at odds about who is the ignorant one. Until 100% of our electricity is renewable. This is being wasted. If we had renewable resources to spare, it would be different.

And no, wanting to prevent wasteful spending is not whining. If that was the case you are whining when you tell your kids they can't have what they want. When in reality it is usually the kid whining about not getting it.
 

Mister_K

Posts: 2,080   +779
You are absolutely correct. We are however at odds about who is the ignorant one. Until 100% of our electricity is renewable. This is being wasted. If we had renewable resources to spare, it would be different.

People always love to preach to others on what they should do with their own ventures. We should be barking on the corporations and governments. I see no problem with this. Sure he could donate all the energy to causes that help the planet, and you and I could donate all our salary (outside of necessity to live) to poorer nations, not take baths, take public transport etc etc...
 

gabelogan1324

Posts: 27   +22
Man, people whining about "ruining" the ecosystem because of non-renewable energies mining crypto (or something broad and stupid like that)...

...And now that this place is mining with 100% renewable, said people are just whining.

Can't win with ignorant people... lol

I know right?! :D
 

gabelogan1324

Posts: 27   +22
People always love to preach to others on what they should do with their own ventures. We should be barking on the corporations and governments. I see no problem with this. Sure he could donate all the energy to causes that help the planet, and you and I could donate all our salary (outside of necessity to live) to poorer nations, not take baths, take public transport etc etc...

I Agree - everyone has their own decision to make with their own stuff - If I make 10 Million dollars, Noone has the right (but everyone would give their opinion) on what I do with it. That is 100% my choice.
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,933   +6,264
I Agree - everyone has their own decision to make with their own stuff - If I make 10 Million dollars, Noone has the right (but everyone would give their opinion) on what I do with it. That is 100% my choice.
With that attitude, who is to stop you from burning the planet? No one has the right to ruin living conditions for everyone. You should rethink your stance on authority. Or are you one of those "De-fund the Police" nut jobs?
 

Watzupken

Posts: 313   +299
Man, people whining about "ruining" the ecosystem because of non-renewable energies mining crypto (or something broad and stupid like that)...

...And now that this place is mining with 100% renewable, said people are just whining.

Can't win with ignorant people... lol
I feel the ignorant person is one that agrees with this sort of behavior. Renewable energy aside, this is a power company that CHOSE to service miners because they can earn MORE from it. While this is only 1 company, if more power companies decides to go down this path, do you not think that prices of energy will go up for you? Take GPU as an example, because miners are willing to pay a lot more for GPU so much so that you can't get a GPU without having to pay 3x the MSRP, does it benefit consumers? GPU is a non-essential product, but not power/energy.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,583   +1,599
TechSpot Elite
I feel the ignorant person is one that agrees with this sort of behavior. Renewable energy aside, this is a power company that CHOSE to service miners because they can earn MORE from it. While this is only 1 company, if more power companies decides to go down this path, do you not think that prices of energy will go up for you? Take GPU as an example, because miners are willing to pay a lot more for GPU so much so that you can't get a GPU without having to pay 3x the MSRP, does it benefit consumers? GPU is a non-essential product, but not power/energy.
Honestly I think if a power company can earn beyond the norms of their business its could be a win, win. If they are mining and a power emergency does arise they can just shut the mining farms down for a while.
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 220   +145
Most of the rotation power comes not from the turbines, but from its creators spinning in their graves at the knowing of how the humanity desecrated their creation.
The power station is still going after more than 120 years rather than being abandoned and left to rust. The creators would still be happy.

Let me point out no one is mining bitcoins on old servers. This is another example of people using the term "bitcoin" to mean a crypto currency.
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 220   +145
With that attitude, who is to stop you from burning the planet? No one has the right to ruin living conditions for everyone. You should rethink your stance on authority. Or are you one of those "De-fund the Police" nut jobs?
You seem to be angry at something that wasn't written in any of the posts. Who said anything about burning the planet? No one said anything about ruining living conditions for everyone. You should stop looking for reasons to be upset or outraged, because you will always find one.

You are absolutely correct. We are however at odds about who is the ignorant one. Until 100% of our electricity is renewable. This is being wasted. If we had renewable resources to spare, it would be different.

And no, wanting to prevent wasteful spending is not whining. If that was the case you are whining when you tell your kids they can't have what they want. When in reality it is usually the kid whining about not getting it.
How is using their own electricity for their own purposes any of your business? You admonishing someone who's using spare resources to do whatever they want is whining. Do you live or work in a place that's temperature controlled with artificial lights? Do you think powering up your computer and admonishing people isn't wasting electricity? You do not get a say in what anyone else does with their money.
 
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VitalyT

Posts: 5,837   +5,897
You zealots are really horrendous. You'd rather green, renewable energy fail and rot rather than get used just because crypto is involved.
You crypto-fans are appalling, all for the sake of self-enrichment. With crypto, energy used = wasted.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 972   +1,416
You crypto-fans are appalling, all for the sake of self-enrichment. With crypto, energy used = wasted.
And you'd rather see a business in a small town die out rather than regain its footing with a new technology, to boot.

You really wear your loyalty on your sleeves: big business, big finance, and big cities, all of which are more detrimental to the planet than crypto is. You're hypocrites, and greedier and more selfish than any miner. Crypto is a shield against your malice.
 
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cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,933   +6,264
You really wear your loyalty on your sleeves: big business, big finance, and big cities, all of which are more detrimental to the planet than crypto is.
Why can you not see, this will not change with crypto. Crypto does nothing to remove those elements from our society. Unlike crypto everything else has some semblance of power efficiency.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 972   +1,416
Crypto does nothing to remove those elements from our society.
It's clearly doing something to help preserve the element of this 124 year old power plant and small town in society.

But that doesn't matter to you if you can't get your 120 FPS in Fortnite, I guess.
 
I feel this should be made illegal.

Protecting a public ledger with electric power is real work. Many university graduates have their degree credentials validated by proof links on the bitcoin blockchain. Microsoft's ION distributed ID management system uses the bitcoin chain as a trust anchor.

Do some research before you post nonsense.