Bitcoin Miner Made $31M by Cutting Power Use in Texas

Energy credits paid better for Riot last month than mining
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2023 5:30 PM CDT
Cutting Power Use Pays Better Than Bitcoin for Riot
The sun rises over power lines in June in Houston.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Riot Platforms mined about $8.9 million in bitcoin in August. But that's nothing compared with the company's haul in the same month for selling power back to the Texas grid after Riot reduced its electrical consumption by more than 95% during peak demand periods. "August was a landmark month for Riot in showcasing the benefits of our unique power strategy," CEO Jason Les said in a statement, CNBC reports. The energy credits significantly cut the company's costs, he said, and "are a key element in making Riot one of the lowest cost producers of bitcoin in the industry."

It's a change in strategy for Riot, whose revenue skyrocketed in 2021 with bitcoin demand. When the crypto market tanked the next year, Riot had a net loss of more than $500 million. ERCOT, the grid operator, has had problems with shifting energy prices, among other issues, and came up with the program to help it and flexible customers. The bitcoin miners also agree to buy extra excess power in slower times for the grid. During the August heat, ERCOT several times asked all Texas customers to cut their power use during peak demand, per the Houston Chronicle. ERCOT estimated last year that bitcoin mining in the state uses more than five times as much electricity as all the households in Houston. (More power grid stories.)

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