Bitcoin and blockchain infrastructure company Blockstream has introduced Blockstream Energy, its new service for energy producers to sell excess electricity to proof-of-work miners. Combined with connectivity provided by the Blockstream satellite, the new service is designed to expand the potential reach of bitcoin mining to renewable energy sources even in remote locations.
Blockstream Mining provides bitcoin mining equipment to institutional and enterprise customers. It also offers hosting services where it deploys mining equipment and then turns over full control of the rigs to the customer.
Blockstream Energy utilizes modular mining units (MMUs), which are essentially independent mining facilities that can be operated remotely. Power producers like turbine or nuclear power plant owners can sell energy to the operators of these MMUs that otherwise would have gone unused.
“For the first time, energy producers can control and scale demand to meet their supply. This incredibly powerful tool can be used to make existing electrical grids far more efficient while also significantly improving the economics of renewable energy projects,” said Chris Cook, CIO and head of mining at Blockstream.
Energy producers can use Blockstream MMUs for a variety of purposes including balancing electric grids and improving carbon trading strategies. Since MMUs can be shipped globally and are plug-and-play, many renewable energy mixes can fuel them. Blockstream deploys these MMUs to energy production sites in order to enable scalable and dynamically adjustable energy demand.
“Much of the world’s usable renewable sources are concentrated in remote locations where there is little local demand and not much surrounding infrastructure,” said Adam Back, chief executive officer at Blockstream.
The global Blockstream Satellite network can connect to MMUs anywhere in the world and allow their operators to manage them remotely, opening up the potential for them to situate their operations at sites isolated from high-demand civilian or commercial power infrastructures. Renewable energy generation facilities, therefore, can locate in a variety of locations, such as near isolated waterfalls or volcanos, and take advantage of profitable energy sources that might otherwise be inaccessible.
Recently, Blockstream has come out with a series of announcements pursuing renewable energy in bitcoin mining. In March, it announced a partnership with energy infrastructure company Aker and a $5 million open source deal with Square.