Tesla, Blockstream, and Block partners for a solar-powered BTC mining plant in Texas

Tesla, Blockstream, and Block partners for a solar-powered BTC mining plant in Texas

By Onose Enaholo - min read
Updated 26 January 2023

Tesla, Blockstream, and Jack Dorsey’s Block have partnered to build a solar-powered Bitcoin mining facility in West Texas. The facility will be powered by a 12 megawatt-hour Megapack and Tesla’s 3.8 megawatts solar PV array.

On the sidelines of the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, Blockstream co-founder and CEO Adam Back who is a member of the “cypherpunk” crew and a British cryptographer told CNBC that the new mining facility will be designed to prove the concept that Bitcoin mining can be done using 100% renewable energy.

Back said:

“People like to debate about the different factors to do with bitcoin mining. We figured, let’s just prove it. Have an open dashboard so people can play along, maybe it can inform other players to participate.” 

Interestingly, the team responsible for the bitcoin mining facility shall also create a dashboard to allow the general public to participate and obtain real-time metrics on how the project is performing regarding the number of bitcoins mined and the power output. The dashboard is also expected to show solar and storage performance data points.

Back said:

“This is a step to proving our thesis that bitcoin mining can fund zero-emission power infrastructure and build economic growth for the future.”

Renewable energy adoption in crypto

To improve the economy of renewables in West Texas, which is currently the hub of renewable energy in the United States, it’s important to harness energy from the sun and wind with the latter playing a major role during the night.

However, a lot of solar and wind power is concentrated in the remote part of the state and there is a need to have more financial incentives that will build more infrastructures to harness the energy in the area.

It is important to note that energy buyers play a major role in the economic growth of renewable power production by making it more viable in the state.

However, Bitcoin miners are just temporary buyers who ensure that the energy assets are in operation waiting for the full grid adoption since the West Texas facility is limited to only 34 gigawatts of power, 12 gigawatts of transmission, and 5 gigawatts of demand.

Back noted that the off-grid mine will be completed later in the year where miners will be able to mine from anywhere without local infrastructure. If the project shows some profits, then the company will scale up by adding wind power.

Back said:

“You’re making a sort of calculation of the optimal economic mix between solar and battery, there are 3.8 megawatts of solar and one megawatt of mining, so you can see you have to overprovision, because the peak solar input varies during the day and, of course, it’s not there at night.”

This will reduce the cost as well as counter the downtime of solar. 

Blockstream said that the main goal is to strengthen the bitcoin network by expanding the crypto energy sources.