Iceland cuts power to new Bitcoin miners


National Iceland electrical company Landsvirkjun has cut the amount of power it will provide for some industries, including aluminium smelters and Bitcoin miners.

A representative from the island’s power utility reported it has been forced to reduce energy allocations to southwestern Bitcoin miners and various industrial facilities due to a series of issues including a problem at a power station, low hydro-reservoir levels and accessing energy from an external supplier.

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Mining operations have long been attracted to the country due to its abundance of geothermal energy which is harvested to create a cheap and plentiful supply of renewable energy. But from Dec. 7 for an unknown period of time, any new requests for electricity from mining operations will be rejected, according to Landsvirkjun.

Canada’s Hive Blockchain Technologies, Genesis Mining, and Bitfury Holding are the three main Bitcoin mining companies that have opened facilities in Iceland.

For nearly a decade, miners have tried to realize the promise of environmentally-friendly Bitcoin mining in Iceland. In 2013, Cloud Hashing moved 100 miners to Iceland. In November of 2017, Austrian company HydroMiner GmbH raised about $2.8 million in its initial coin offering (ICO) to install mining rigs directly at Icelandic power plants.

Less than 1% of the country’s electricity is generated from non-renewable sources.

Related: UN’s COP26 climate change goals include emerging tech and carbon taxes

The country’s aluminum smelting industry has been hit hardest by the distribution failure. Aluminum prices rose 1.1% on Dec. 7 to reflect the bottleneck in supply created by a recent surge in demand and the present power supply crunch.

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Globally, green blockchain initiatives have come into vogue in 2021. COP26 conference thought leaders in Glasgow, Scotland addressed energy-intensive Bitcoin mining. The conference saw the launch of the GloCha United Citizens Organization (UCO) for action on Climate Empowerment. It will utilize blockchain technology to advance climate change objectives.

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Author: Brian Newar

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