Chinese province of Sichuan, popular among mining enterprises due to cheap hydropower, hopes to boost sales of electricity to miners ahead of the rainy season.
Sichuan, a province in Southwest China, where hydroelectric power accounts for a majority of the electricity generated, expects to sell excessive electricity to mining enterprises. Due to the low cost of electricity, Sichuan has long attracted mining companies and is considered the world center of bitcoin mining mainly due to cheap hydropower (less than $ 0.03/kWh), low population density and cool climate in mountainous areas. According to experts, in 2019, the Sichuan province accounted for more than 50% of global bitcoin mining.
In May, the rainy season usually begins in Sichuan, and hydroelectric power stations are forced to increase water discharges through facilities, and therefore generate more electricity.
According to a document issued by the city of Ya’an in Sichuan, the local government, seeking to set an example of the use of surplus hydropower, calls on leading mining companies to transfer production to Ya’an and take advantage of cheap hydropower resources. Thus, the city authorities hope to turn it into a powerful industrial blockchain center in China.
The text of the announcement refers to blockchain companies and does not directly call such a field of activity as mining. But it is mining that is known for its high energy consumption. Electricity bills account for approximately a half of the capital costs of mining enterprises.
The statement by the city authorities contrasts sharply with the rhetoric of the Chinese central government, which repeatedly criticized cryptocurrency mining business for their high energy costs.
The excess electricity generated by local hydropower plants in 2019 is estimated at 9.2 billion kWh. This energy would be enough for around-the-clock operation of 820,000 S9 mining machines during one year.