Public Utility District (PUD) No. 3 in Mason County of Washington State, had intended to welcome ccryptocurrency mining businesses to its area. Originally all looked good for a local marijuana grower who wanted to expand his business into that off cryptocurrency mining, that is until a second company showed up wanting the same.
This second mining company was seeking 10 megawatts of power from the local utility. That is when officials at Mason County PUD No. 3 decided to act.
Tuesday April 10 2018, the PUD’s commission consisting of 3 members, voted unanimously on a moratorium. according to a local press release the moratorium covered:
computer or data processing loads related to virtual or cryptocurrency mining, bitcoin, Blockchain, or similar purposes
To put it simply, PUD no 3, will not be open to accepting applications for services, at least not until it does its own research on the topic.
The utility company’s plans are to get a better understanding of the industry by hiring e a consultant to help them determine the appropriate cost for service. They plan to identify what types of rates they should charge data miners and whether to ask for money upfront in the form of a deposit.
According to the general manager Annette Creekpaum:
We have to be ready for it. We were not completely ready and then someone started moving before we were ready to go.
For Mason County’s overall usage, an average of only 80 megawatts will server 34,000 customers. So to the County PUD, 10 megawatts is a very significant and large amount of power.
Creekpaum said that an additional 10 megawatts means the Bonneville Power Administration of Portland must be notified.
Mason County PUD spokesman Joel Myer said:
data miners operate computer server farms on steroids.
Myer said Customer information is confidential but notes that the power request did in fact come from a Washington state registered business.
The company attempted to lower its request to only 3 megawatts, but unfortunately for them, the memorandum took effect before the request was able to go through.
A minimum of expectation of 3 to 4 months will take place before the entire study may be complete, leaving these companies searching for other solutions to keep their mining operations going.
Whereas this all sounds like bad news, it may in fact be considered great news for many who consider the practice of corporate mining facilities to be a centralization of their industry, which many vast oppose.
If things were to continue like this across the globe, governments may be placing the ability to mine back in the hands of everyday computer owners, who would use considerable less power per person but require a much greater mining effort than corporate mining facilities to keep cryptocurrency, and most notably bitcoin, continuing.
This also is great news for alternative solutions who use a newer protocol to bitcoins “proof of work” concept known as “proof of stake” which requires no mining at all, and instead merely holding coins in their wallets to approve transactions on the blockchain.