A report from Data Center Dynamics (opens in new tab) (via Techspot (opens in new tab)) says Talen Energy, a US power company, plans on building a 300MW crypto mining facility and data center next to its nuclear Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Pennsylvania.
The business responsible for the crypto mining operation, Cumulus Coin, is a subsidiary of Talen Energy and expects the project to come online in the spring of 2022, with the first phase of development having 164MW of capacity. The goal is to have at least 300MW of onsite power by completion and the ability to expand to 1GW capacity in the future.
Just to give you an idea of how lucrative these crypto mining operations are, the Albany Engineering Corp in New York said they could make more money mining cryptocurrency at its nearly 200-year-old hydroelectric power plant than providing power to customers on its entire energy grid.
Talen told DCD the wider data center facility "will provide low-cost, reliable, carbon-free power to the data center clients on campus. This allows clients to benefit from carbon-free, 24/7 power being supplied directly to the campus, without the intermittency that renewable energy can experience, or requiring fossil fuels."
Talen Energy says it's already obtained the necessary permits on the township and state level to prep the site for groundbreaking and has applied for permits to start construction on the first building on the Susquehanna Hyperscale Campus as soon as possible.
As the US continues to expand crypto mining operations, China has been cracking down on bitcoin mining running on power from coal plants (opens in new tab) in a bid to help reduce its peak carbon emissions by 2030 and total reach carbon neutrality by 2060. The crackdowns are also the main reason why there's been a rise in used graphics cards (opens in new tab) hitting the market in China, along with the recent drop in price in Ethereum.
A recent report from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (opens in new tab) says that bitcoin mining uses about 105 terawatt-hours of electricity, which is more than some countries. Some world regions are investing in cleaner energy alternatives such as hydroelectric power and even geothermal energy (opens in new tab) to power some of these bitcoin mining operations.
"As the demand for energy increases among data center and cryptocurrency processing clients, so does the call for decarbonizing these energy sources," says a spokesperson for Talen.
That's nice, but I'm obliged to ask: Why are any of our precious energy resources, nuclear or geothermal or otherwise, being put toward generating digital money? (The unsatisfying answer, of course, is the word "money.")