Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Bitcoin Businesses

A Coal Power Plant is Being Reopened For Blockchain Mining (cnet.com) 225

An anonymous reader shares a report: Sure, you could mine bitcoin on that old PC in your garage, or you could use a whole power station to do it. That's the idea behind the Blockchain Application Centre -- an Aussie tech initiative that will see one of the country's now-shuttered coal-fired power plants reopened to provide cheap power for blockchain applications. It's the work of Australian tech company IOT Group, which has partnered with local power company Hunter Energy on the project. According to The Age, Hunter Energy will recommission the Redbank power station in the Hunter Valley, two hours drive north of Sydney. Once the power plant is reopened (expected to be completed within 12 months), it will offer wholesale or "pre-grid" power prices to blockchain companies, allowing them to do things like mining cryptocurrencies, without having to pay retail power prices.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

A Coal Power Plant is Being Reopened For Blockchain Mining

Comments Filter:
  • Yay Coal Power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2018 @01:16PM (#56432259)

    So not onlly are we going to waste tons of electricity, we're going to pollute now too.

    • by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @01:24PM (#56432347)

      It's too bad Australia seems to be run by fossils these days though, so that won't happen.

    • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @01:29PM (#56432383)

      So not onlly are we going to waste tons of electricity, we're going to pollute now too.

      Coal is the future. Coal powered power stations, coal powered cars, coal powered politicians. Dissing coal will get you sent to the gulag.

    • Next, we’re going to bulldoze the rainforest and plant tulips there.
      • Next, we’re going to bulldoze the rainforest and plant tulips there.

        In the South Seas! Stock in this new venture now available on 5% margin.

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          At least the South Seas scam served a purpose - it was cooked up to refinance government debt, not that different in practice from state lotteries now that I think about it.

    • And they should be a huge social pressure against them. But the issue is, many crypto mining companies do it where electricity is cheap ... because running on dirty coal.

      Problem is, their companies don't sell anything, they just make money, and those who run this probably don't care much about their image.

    • There is a possible silver lining here. If we can 1) consolidate bit coin mining, 2) have them use power plant scale amounts of power, then we have a new resource which is concentrated waste heat. Bit coin gives off waste heat but when distributed no center may be large enough to make practical recovery valuable. But if a whole power plant is devoted to this then a new scale may be emerging.
      They need to think about how to co-locate thermal power intensive industries. Some things like smelting iron proba

      • 1) That's a bad thing. The NICE part of bitcoin is that it's distributed. It's a feature!

        2) It's WASTE heat dude.

        But sure, they've been trying to harvest waste heat from power plants. I've heard some interesting ideas about using the heat gradient as a sterling engine and turning it into vibrations then converting that back into power.

        They need to think about how to co-locate thermal power intensive industries.

        They're going to co-locate where the damn coal is cheap. Where the land is cheap. Where the employees are cheap. Or do you think having a cheap bread baking oven is going

        • Employees?

          Mining is power intensive. It is capital intensive. It is not labor intensive. The only employees you need are one technician to maintain the equipment, one accountant-trader to turn the coins into conventional money to pay the bills with, and enough security guards to stop anyone absconding with your very expensive hardware.

      • The only silver lining is that the coal won't be shipped through/by the Great Barrier Reef to be burned in India or China.

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      So not onlly are we going to waste tons of electricity, we're going to pollute now too.

      A coal plant has nothing on a gold mine. For all that BTC is wasteful, it's still far better than gold (from time to time, the power cost to get 1 ounce of gold exceeds the worth of that gold - ASIC mining is much less wasteful).

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2018 @01:20PM (#56432287)

    This is so pointless. All that energy, and all those computing resources, for nothing. What the hell is wrong with people?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bungo ( 50628 )

      I fell the same way about soccer and it's world cup.

      I mean, millions of people watching a small number of men kicking around a ball.

      If only everyone in the world would just do whatever I think is sensible, and stop wasting resources.

      Why the hell do people have the freedom to make their own choices in life?

       

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      This is so pointless. All that energy, and all those computing resources, for nothing. What the hell is wrong with people?

      Hardly a new problem - how else would you describe the pyramids. Well, at least they're cool to look at.

    • It's not totally pointless, at least for the power company. Economically it's great.
      Coal plants are awful in the current fast energy market: if you want to deliver power tomorrow at 11am, you better start firing the boiler now or it won't happen.
      If you however have a always running baseload from the bitcoin mining, you can immediately react to fluctuating power needs by simply turning off the miners, or at least hibernate them. You cannot power up or down a coal power plant in seconds but you can do this wi

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      This is so pointless. All that energy, and all those computing resources, for nothing. What the hell is wrong with people?

      Are you talking about Crypto Currencies or Candy Crush?

  • God damn it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @01:20PM (#56432293) Homepage

    God damn it, this fucking insanity has to stop. Not only has it impacted my ability to upgrade to a bitch'n graphics card but now they want to poison the air I breath for this shit?

    • Re:God damn it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @01:26PM (#56432359) Journal
      I have to say that I am disgusted by this.
      We really need to stop ALL new coal plants, or re-openings, from occurring. That should include ALL NATIONS.
    • by indy ( 23876 )

      There is two ways out of this. One is Bitcoin depreciating substantially, making mining less profitable. The other is having an alternative market for compute power that pays better. Projects such as Golem [golem.network] and (this author's very own) BitWrk [bitwrk.net] are trying to achieve this.

      • Perhaps more cryptocurrencies should be based on other concepts, like proof-of-storage, rather than proof-of-work. Proof-of-storage would be useful, as it would likely drive down the price of SSDs, benefiting everyone, in the long term.

        • Like altcoin mining has driven down the price of GPUs?

        • by Q-Hack! ( 37846 )

          Proof-of-storage would be useful, as it would likely drive down the price of SSDs, benefiting everyone, in the long term.

          I think you missed the concept of supply and demand. If you increase the demand, the price goes up.

          • by flink ( 18449 )

            Proof-of-storage would be useful, as it would likely drive down the price of SSDs, benefiting everyone, in the long term.

            I think you missed the concept of supply and demand. If you increase the demand, the price goes up.

            It depends on the type of good. If something requires a high initial capital expenditure to start producing, but has a low marginal cost to manufacture, then having a higher demand can lower cost because the the manufacturer can spread the cost over more consumers.

      • There is two ways out of this. One is Bitcoin depreciating substantially, making mining less profitable. The other is having an alternative market for compute power that pays better. Projects such as Golem [golem.network] and (this author's very own) BitWrk [bitwrk.net] are trying to achieve this.

        The two big problems with Bitcoin are the enabling of illegal activity and the high use of energy by miners.

        While having an alternative market means that computing power is being used for something more productive it doesn't actually fix either problem.

        Whether a Bitcoin is worth $0.01 or $1,000,000 you can transfer $10k in Bitcoin for money laundering or a mob hit just as easily.

        And an alternative market that pays better doesn't actually save any power, people will just turn from large-scale mining into lar

      • Because an "alternative market for compute power that pays better" would just make even more money for this coal plant, I have a better idea: put the NSA to work on breaking the Bitcoin system itself, either the mining part or the blockchain part, to crash its value. Let mobsters kill each other over their suddenly emptied stores of value while millions of GPUs suddenly become available for cheap.

    • poison the air I breath for this shit

      Nope, just the air of her majesty's former criminals. ;-)

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      God damn it, this fucking insanity has to stop. Not only has it impacted my ability to upgrade to a bitch'n graphics card but now they want to poison the air I breath for this shit?

      Brother, you aren't kidding. I did not understand all the griping lately about video cards until last week when I looked at what a new one would cost. My R7850 from 2013 may actually have appreciated in value, and anything that would get me a meaningful performance increase over what was a $150 card 5 years ago costs $400+ today.

  • Dirty money (Score:5, Funny)

    by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @01:25PM (#56432349)

    Huh, is this some sort of competition to find the dirtiest of money?

  • All this stuff is speculation and it will crash again.
    Happy landing.
  • Coal is Making Australia Great Again.
  • TFA is on a really bad website. Thank God for noscript [noscript.net]. If you're one of the rare slashdotters who reads TFA, then get this add-on first.
  • That seems like a long time in blockchain time. . . Isn't proof of space [wikipedia.org] supposed to take over at some point, in which case the demand for computational and power resources in this space will be dramatically decreased?

    Then again, it is mid April, 2018 and I still cannot buy web storage hosted on file coin's network [filecoin.io]. . .
  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @01:41PM (#56432481)
    A think we need to update Drake equation [wikipedia.org] and add a parameter for crypto mining.
  • I think the power company just wants to add "blockchain" to their name so the execs can cash out, but my quick back-of-napkin math makes me think it might actually work if they can fully sell it out. Assuming a 100MW plant, it would take US$25-40 million to get up and running, which would require $500/year/kW in rent for a 12-month payback, which equates to a US$0.05/kWh electricity savings to make it worthwhile.

    But it seems like a lot of risk for something 12 months out before generating cash flow that is

  • INFINTE FACEPALM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @01:44PM (#56432497) Journal
    This has got to be the most pants-on-head retarded nonsense I've heard yet. Is Australia vying for the title of 'most fucked up' with Florida or something?
    • by labnet ( 457441 )

      Australia has been overtaken by green left lunatic ideology. We have been demolishing coal plants at a great rate which has given us power that costs 26c/kWh.
      I doubt this idea will ever get up.

  • I guess we get to breathe it now. Awesome. What's the ETA on that giant meteor that is just supposed to just put us all out of our misery?
  • I used to joke that some video cards require you to bring your own power plant, but this is ridiculous.

  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @03:16PM (#56433183)
    "We techies are so very environmentally responsib ... ooh, shiny bitcoin!"
  • Will they have the necessary CO2 scrubbers and sequestering technology to make it pass the Australian pollution regulations? Or is it that this Anti-Science intelligence deficit disease (ASIDD) is just as contagious over there as it is here in the US?
  • Race to the bottom.
  • oh fuck me - the IdiOT Group, offshoot of the young liberals
    the neoliberal hard right goons have found another excuse to keep coal going
    sounds like a brain fart
    want to make money while your sitting around being an entitled, fucking yuppy, we've got fake money
    need something, but you're too fucking stupid to do it yourself, we've got slaves for hire
    fucking selfies, make me a drone in clear plastic, then I'll be excited

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's

Working...