Cryptocurrency is now breaking the power grid of a U.S. county as electrical consumption for Bitcoin mining reaches “insane” territory

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
By Paul Martin

by: Ethan Huff
Monday, January 15, 2018

The amount of electricity required to mine and transact Bitcoin is now so high that a small county in Washington state is having to kick production into overdrive. According to reports, Douglas County, located in almost the dead-center of the state, has some of the cheapest electricity rates in the country, and this has created heavy demand among cryptocurrency aficionados.

While the national price average for electricity is seven cents per kilowatt, it’s a mere four cents per kilowatt in places like Wenatchee. This has drawn many cryptocurrency miners to set up shop throughout the area, with new data centers popping up left and right. In the process, demand for energy has gone through the roof.

“Our infrastructure is actually being put to the test. We’re full,” stated Ron Cridlebaugh, the Port of Douglas County economic development manager, to CNBC‘s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera about this area-wide phenomenon.

With cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ripple skyrocketing in value by upwards of 1,500 percent and 35,000 percent, respectively, it’s a digital “gold rush,” of sorts, for folks looking to reach the big time financially speaking. Douglas County is striving to keep up with demand, but this is a tough prospect considering how quickly the cryptocurrency sector is growing.

“It’s going to take some time to catch up because growth has been so quick,” Cridlebaugh added, noting that his county is currently in the process of building out an additional 100 megawatt (100,000 kilowatt) infrastructure just in data centers. He says that this should help handle the heavy load requirements of cryptocurrency mining operations.

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