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Texas Senator Ted Cruz Believes Bitcoin Mining Will Help State’s Power Grid Problems
Image Credit: Jernej Furman/Flickr

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Texas Senator Ted Cruz Believes Bitcoin Mining Will Help State’s Power Grid Problems

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, believes that Bitcoin mining will help Texas solves its power grid problems. Cruz said in a recent statement that wasted natural gas can be used for cryptocurrency mining.

If such is possible, Cruz pointed out that it will help the energy industry bring more stability to Texas’s electricity-generating network. Cruz made his statements at a cryptocurrency conference called Texas Blockchain Summit held in Austin recently.

Why Cruz Pitched The Idea

Texas still has not solved the problem with its power. Last February, during a winter storm, more than 200 Texans died because of power outages.

When Cruz pitched his idea at the summit, The Dallas Morning News quoted the senator saying, “Because of the ability of Bitcoin mining to turn on or off instantaneously, if you have a moment where there’s a power shortage in a power crisis, whether it is a freeze or some other natural disaster where power generation capacity goes down… they become excess reserves that can strengthen the grid’s resilience by providing a significant capacity of additional power to be available for critical services if and when it’s needed.” Cruz continued to say that Texans should take advantage of the booming cryptocurrency industry in Texas. He believes that he will see a dramatically different terrain with Bitcoin playing a significant role in strengthening and hardening the grid’s resiliency in five years.

The Energy They Hope To Use

Cruz also said that Bitcoin miners could use the natural gas found in the Permian Basin in West Texas. Cruz pointed out that the energy there is being wasted, so he thinks it is an enormous opportunity for the Bitcoin industry to look into such.

Cryptocurrency miners are also open to using these flares or the unwanted natural gas by oil companies. The Dallas Morning News reported that cryptocurrency miners look at this as an opportunity to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and as an easy way to obtain cheap energy.

Expert Weighs In On Cruz’s Idea

An expert talked to The Dallas Morning News and commented on Cruz’s idea regarding Bitcoin. He is Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Rice University, and he said that there is merit to Cruz’s idea regarding a more flexible demand making it easier to balance the ups and downs of supply when wind and solar vary or when coal and gas nuclear plants fail. However, he thinks using the energy to power the computers used for Bitcoin mining will add a new demand to the grid. Cohan noted if this happens, it will not be helpful and will not fix the shortfalls.

Cohan said that such natural gas should be captured rather than letting it leak or be flared for the energy that Cruz and cryptocurrency miners are looking into using. However, Cohan believes it is independent of whether there are Bitcoin miners. Natural gas capture can be used for anything, and there is no shortage of customers looking to use it.