Montana and the Future of Renewable Mining

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It’s no secret to anyone that mining uses a lot of energy. Bitcoin’s current annual energy use can be compared to some of the biggest countries in the world. And mining is only comparable to those. 

Renewable energy must be something to look for. And that's what Madison River Equity is trying to pursue. They’re planning to build something pretty special. A Montana zoning board 300 MW, 1,600-acre solar array, AKA the Basin Creek Solar Project, will be built on private ranch land in Butte.

What's all of this for? Of course, for crypto.

What's Atlas Power?

Madison River Equity is a telecommunication company, better known as the developers of the Atlas Power data center. This data center mines cryptocurrency. They are currently working to add new buildings and thousands of extra GPUs. They aim to mine crypto while reducing electricity use. 

If they get all the permissions needed for this new project, Atlas Power’s owners would buy the Basin Creek Solar Project to power the data center. 

An Ambitious Solar Project In Sight

Matt Vincent, a spokesperson for the solar project, had something to say. He claims Atlas Power changed from mining Bitcoin to mining Ethereum. They substituted ASIC machines with GPU processors. From a technical standpoint, this change reduces the energy usage they had. 

Vincent also said they are focused on the expansion of eight buildings in the short term. There is some opportunity for them to expand even further. But right now, that’s not their focus.

Around 700,000 solar panels would be placed on either side of a seasonal drainage channel. In between, there will be a 1,500-foot wide corridor left in the middle for wildlife. This facility would generate 300 MW of solar power annually — enough to power 40,600 single-family homes. 

Butte County has only around 14,605 homes. All the excess power would be consumed by Atlas Power. The whole project would cost $250 million. If it does get built, it will be one of the biggest solar projects in the country. 

Everyone's Not On The Same Page

Some landowners are very concerned. Will they get powered by this massive plant or are they going to sell it somewhere else? One of the landowners says that everyone likes small towns to do whatever they want. 

One of the main opponents to this is Anne Hedges, director of policy at the Montana Environmental Information Center. She said this project is borderline ridiculous noting that they are telling everyone what they want to hear. But to her, this is not true in any way. 

Hedges says they can't even get renewable energy for people’s everyday lives in Montana. She thinks it makes no sense to move forward with renewable energy for cryptocurrency. The cherry on top? She believes crypto is an industry designed to enrich very few people.

Final Thoughts

The Basin Creek Solar project is in the hands of the Butte-Silver bow zoning board. On 17th June, they will meet to discuss whether to allow solar arrays built on what is currently private land.  

This project seems to be the perfect solution for some in the crypto community. This alongside Musk and Saylor's Bitcoin Mining Council points to sustainable crypto mining initiatives. The future of crypto is green.

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