Mining Bitcoin has quadrupled the revenues of a historic renewable energy project in New York.
The Mechanicville hydroelectric facility in New York, one of the country’s oldest hydropower plants, is being used for Bitcoin mining.
Albany Engineering Corp (AEC) owns the facility, which the National Grid requested to rehabilitate in 1986. Cryptocurrency mining, according to AEC CEO Jim Besha Sr., offers three times the profit margins possible from selling power back to the grid:
“We think this is the oldest renewable energy facility in the world that’s still running. We can make more money with Bitcoin than selling the electricity to National Grid.”
Besha stated that he is satisfied to liquidate the BTC as it arrives, expressing doubts about the crypto asset’s long-term prospects.
Despite the high-profit margins, Besha regrets not selling his electricity for use as power, but a decade of battle with the National Grid has forced him to search for other sources of income.
When AEC was requested to repair the plant, it signed a deal with the National Grid, ensuring that it would buy power from Besha at a subsidized rate for the next 40 years. However, once AEC was granted autonomous status in 1993, Besha alleges that the National Grid breached their agreement, resulting in a lengthy legal fight.
AEC isn’t the first company to use a current industry landmark to create bitcoin.
In 2018, Bitriver opened a data center in Siberia, which was once home to the world’s biggest aluminum smelter, built by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The facility, which is now being utilized to mine Bitcoin, is also close to a giant hydroelectric plant.
Coinmint stated in the same year that it had secured a ten-year lease on a 1,300-acre parcel of land in upstate New York that had previously been used for aluminum smelting and would now be utilized to house BTC mining hardware.
After a storm and a generator fire caused significant damage to the facility, National Grid decided to give up the plant, pay for repairs, and purchase power from AEC at market value in 2003. Despite National Grid’s decision to end its price concession, Bitcoin mining revenues continue to outstrip what AEC can earn from selling power.