US energy NGO warns of overwhelming demand, as ERCOT considers crypto proposals

12:28 am
December 15, 2023
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**US Energy NGO Warns of Surging Demand Amid Crypto Expansion in Texas**

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a nonprofit entity overseeing regional organizations that support energy reliability, has released its annual long-term reliability assessment of the United States electrical grid, identifying high-risk areas for energy reliability due to overwhelming demand. The report warns of escalating demand and pressure on the energy transmission system, pinpointing Texas as a high-risk area due to the burgeoning cryptocurrency mining industry seeking expansion.

According to the report, both development and demand are increasing significantly, posing challenges for operator management. Compounded by mounting demands for energy and pressure on transmission system adequacy, the situation is exacerbated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s policies to reduce carbon emissions.

In response to the report, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) expressed concerns about the grim energy future faced by the nation, stating that without a significant shift in state and federal energy policy, the challenges will persist for years to come. NRECA CEO Jim Matheson highlighted that nine states experienced rolling blackouts in December 2022.

The report also emphasized the unique role of crypto mining in the energy mix, noting its capability for operational flexibility and ability to relocate or shut down in response to fluctuating energy prices, further complicating energy providers’ planning and development.

The Texas grid operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), has approved planning studies for connectivity to the grid for 9 gigawatts (GW) of power and is evaluating requests for an additional 41 GW, illustrating the immense scale of the industry’s expansion in the state.

As the cryptocurrency industry seeks to expand and establish a larger presence, it is crucial for energy stakeholders to address the mounting pressure on the electrical grid while accommodating this increasing demand for energy.

**Summary**

The annual long-term reliability assessment by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) highlights the overwhelming demand for energy in the United States, particularly in areas like Texas where the cryptocurrency mining industry is seeking to expand further. The report emphasizes the challenges posed by escalating development and demand, along with the pressure on the energy transmission system. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) expressed concerns about the nation’s energy future, citing the impact of environmental policies and recent instances of rolling blackouts in several states. Additionally, the report underscores the unique role of cryptocurrency mining in the energy mix and the complexities it presents for energy providers. The Texas grid operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), is considering significant capacity expansion to meet the growing demand.

**FAQs**

**Q: What is the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC)?**
A: NERC is a nonprofit corporation responsible for overseeing regional organizations that support energy reliability in North America.

**Q: What are the key concerns highlighted in the annual reliability assessment?**
A: The assessment emphasizes the overwhelming demand for energy, challenges in operator management, and pressure on the energy transmission system, particularly in regions like Texas.

**Q: What role does cryptocurrency mining play in the energy mix, according to the report?**
A: The report emphasizes the operational flexibility of crypto mining and its ability to relocate or shut down in response to fluctuating energy prices, posing challenges for energy providers’ planning and development.

**Q: Why is the expansion of the cryptocurrency industry significant for the energy sector?**
A: The expansion of the cryptocurrency industry leads to a substantial increase in energy demand, prompting energy stakeholders to address the pressure on the electrical grid while accommodating this growing demand.


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