(Bloomberg) -- The Texas grid operator is launching a program for Bitcoin miners to curtail their power usage during periods of high demand, a move intended to alleviate concerns that the crypto industry adds additional stress to a system vulnerable to extreme storms.
This voluntary short-term measure designed to enroll the fast-growing crypto mining industry will be a way to curtail power consumption in exchange for payouts until long-term rules are established, Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid operator, said in a statement. Registration begins Tuesday and the program is expected to go live in January.
“These customers are large power users but have the flexibility and willingness to reduce their energy use quickly, if needed,” Woody Rickerson, Ercot’s vice president of system planning said in a statement.
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Crypto miners have always been able to join Ercot programs to get paid for curtailing their operations and providing other grid services, but those rules were seen as too rigid. The industry has been working with power companies to develop new guidelines through the Ercot stakeholder process. Crypto mining has the potential to be the largest group of power users in the state that can ramp up and down within seconds around the year.
Critics have been concerned that the surge of power demand from miners and big swings in their output could create disruptions for a grid that experienced widespread blackouts during a deadly winter storm last year.
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