Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners
Over the past few months, quite a few bitcoin miners have been flocking to regions in North America in places such as Vancouver, and multiple states in the U.S. throughout the Midwest. Now, according to the state of Oregon’s regional press, miners are starting operations in the area because of concentrations of cheap hydropower.
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Oregon’s Burgeoning Surplus of Energy Attracts Bitcoin Miners
According to local reports, cryptocurrency miners are finding themselves traveling the ‘Oregon Trail’ for cheap and reliable electricity. Terrence Thurber operates the biggest mining operation in the state called Oregonmines in a small town called Dalles. There are roughly 12 more mining operations in the Oregon, and Robert McCullough of Portland General Electric (PGE) says more facilities are on the way. However, McCullough is not too impressed by the mining movement staking claim in Oregon.
“We may well become the center of crypto-mining in the world,” the PGE consultant McCullough told the local press.
We may find our burgeoning surplus of energy will make us quite a capital for useless servers solving useless puzzles. It’s not as if we have a huge amount of employment attached. It’s not as if you’re going to have a big staff and a lot of smart people working on it.
Hard to Put a Quantity Value on Freedom
Thurber’s bitcoin mine is an industrial-sized operation with over 2,750 mining rigs humming away in a warehouse with no windows. The 33-year-old college dropout moved to Oregon three years ago from Costa Rica to start the mining facility. One of the biggest reasons miners like Thurber are attracted to Oregon is because of the Columbia River hydropower system. The hydro-powered electricity costs 3 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, a price significantly cheaper than most of the states in the U.S. Thurber believes the area is great for mining and thinks cryptocurrency mining operations will continue to have good fortune.
“This is the future,” Thurber explains. “The sooner people get on board, the better off they’ll be. It’s a ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’ situation.”
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New Money Coming In
Thurber says the location is also helpful because the facility is close to a major metro, and weather patterns are favorable. The Oregonmines founder says his operation is also providing new jobs in the area as well. The operation has fifteen employees right now, and roughly eleven of them are working full time.
“Dalles was not exactly popping with activity when I got there,” Thurber details.
My jobs are all new jobs with new money that’s come in.
Another miner in the region is Jeffrey Henry who operates a facility 130 miles away in a town called Bend. Henry started his mining facility Cascade Divide in 2014 and also offers space in the warehouse for other miners. The former Time Warner cable engineer says he rents space to both traditional miners and government agencies.
Additionally, Henry’s mine is strengthened by 18-inch thick concrete walls and a generator with over 2,200 gallons worth of diesel fuel. Henry believes other miners should be cautious of earthquakes and tsunamis as they could lead to significant downtime.
“Some of these cryptocurrency miners just bought old warehouses, and that’s what we’d call a ‘retrofit,'” Henry explains.
Literally, the whole world outside could shut down, and we could keep running for four days like nothing happened — That’s what’s important for state and local governments and companies.
Not Everyone Is Pleased With Miners Flocking to Oregon
However, not everyone in Oregon is pleased with the miners flocking to the state. The PGE consultant McCullough says these mines offer “little benefit” to Oregon. McCullough thinks cryptocurrencies do not provide the same value other traditional data centers provide like Google’s data servers.
“It will get bigger as our energy prices continue to decline, until it all crashes — Building a server farm uses the same equipment and the same electricity, but produces something of use to society,” McCullough concludes.
What do you think about mining operations setting up in the Oregon region for cheaper electricity? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Oregonmines, and Cascade Divide.
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