Australian venture restarting coal-fired electric plant to power blockchain development

Newswire: April 11, 2018.

Dateline: Sydney, Australia.

An Australian tech company is partnering with a local power company to restart an old coal-fired power plant and use it to provide cheap power to customers mining Bitcoin and using other blockchain applications.

The initiative is right now a business development venture. IOT Group and Hunter Energy but it will build a blockchain technology center to attract that sort of business to the Hunter Valley region of Australia’s east coast, about two hours north of Sydney. Energy prices inside the center are expected to be roughly a third of what they are on the open market — 8 cents per kilowatt hour during the day and 5 cents at night, versus 28 cents elsewhere, IOT Group said in a statement.

The Age of Melbourne reports that Australia is a desirable location for many blockchain companies but that power delivery inefficiencies have been a significant, if lone drawback to locating there. The Bitcoin network’s energy demand, worldwide, is believed to equal that of Denmark’s annual electricity consumption, and would be 16 percent of Australia’s. IOT’s group executive said that making power available at wholesale cost would make the nation more attractive to blockchain entrepreneurs.

The power station in question is the 150 megawatt Redbank station, which closed in 2014. Hunter Energy plans to return it to service in the first four months of next year. The blockchain center could account for between 10 and 20 megawatts of consumption.

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