Over the years, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding bitcoin mining due to the amount of electricity used in the mining process. To tackle this, Brookstone Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, announced that it will be raising capital for the construction of the first phase of a 900-megawatt wind farm for the purpose powering a data centre and to mine bitcoin. The planned wind farm which will be located in Dakhla, Morocco, which is located about 1,400 kilometers south of Marrakesh between the Atlantic Ocean and the Sahara Desert.
Due to the high amount of electricity used in bitcoin mining, renewable energy has become an alternative means of mining cryptocurrencies. This is after the mining sector was forced to spend a lot more money on computing power due to the surge in electricity cost last year. Although traditional fuels such as coal are still predominantly used for most utility grids, some big miners have had to switch to cheap renewable power to minimise their carbon footprint in order to attract investors.
Speaking to Bloomberg about the plans to open the wind farm, Brookstone’s Managing General Partner, Michael Toporek, said: “We have exclusive rights to the area for a wind farm, but the issue was there’s no real place to put. These days, what you can do with stranded power is set up a computing center, develop this as an off-grid project.”
Raising Funds Through an ICO
After acquiring the rights to the 37,000 acres wind farm from German company Altus AG, Brookstone Partners founded Soluna earlier in the year. Soluna, a “green” blockchain company, will develop the wind farm. The company is looking to raise $100 million through an initial coin offering (ICO) that will be used in the development of 36 megawatts of turbines.
According to the project’s whitepaper, the electricity will be used by crypto-mining and data centres that process blockchain transactions that run on 18 megawatts of power. Completing the whole project is expected to cost about $3 billion.
Soluna has backings from tech giants such as Google and Facebook and is meant to use renewables to power operations. Today, tech giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple among others have so far contracted more than nine gigawatts of clean energy by signing purchase agreements with farm developers of wind and solar energy globally.
“When we say we’re matching our energy, we mean that for every terawatt of power that we consume at Alphabet, we’re matching that by a physical terawatt-hour that’s being generated somewhere else. We are looking at ways on how to match our actual consumption,” said Head of Energy at Google’s parent company Neha Palmer.
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