Digital Assets: A 300 MW Solar Plant Will Power A Montana Town And Ethereum Mining

May 28, 2021 | Digital Assets, News
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The Basin Creek Solar Project may come up near Butte-Silver Bow County (pictured above).

Madison River Equity LLC is proposing to build a 12-foot-tall solar array on 1,600 acres of private ranchland in south Butte. Known as the Basin Creek Solar project, the $250 million facility would generate 300 MW of solar power annually, enough to power 40,600 single-family homes. There are only 14,605 homes in Butte-Silver Bow County, and the excess power would be consumed by Atlas Power, an Ethereum mining facility operated by FX Solutions, Madison River’s holding company. (Oilprice.com)

Basin Creek Solar Project

Madison River Equity LLC will build the solar array, and then sell it to Atlas Power for use in its crypto mining operations. Atlas Power has a data center just northeast of the proposed solar project in an industrial park. It also has a 75 MW permit from the state for its mining operations.

According to the Montana Standard, Madison river will seek a special use permit from the Butte-Silver Bow Zoning Board on June 17.

The Montana Standard also reported that crypto miner Atlas Power is planning to expand its GPUs, or Graphics Processing Units, to mine Ethereum. Previously, Atlas mined bitcoin with energy-guzzling ASIC machines.

However, as reported by Gizmodo, mining Ethereum with GPUs is a more energy-efficient solution, and substantially reduced the energy drawn by Atlas to 25 MW. Now the company wants to build eight new buildings filled with GPUs to maximize its power permit utilization.

Atlas will sell out any power in excess of the needs of the county and the mining facility.

Environmental pushback

Previously, as per the Montana Standard, the Butte-Silver Bow Zoning Board denied Plus Power (NASDAQ: PLUG) a special-use permit to build a five-acre utility-scale battery storage facility in a large open area of south Butte.

The Board said it voted down the project due to complaints from residents that it would ruin the view and the area’s character.

On June 17, faced with the Madison River proposal, the board would again have to juggle conflicting issues such as climate change and the need for renewable energy; residents’ concerns on noise and obstruction of view; property tax receipts from the new project; and the possibility of new jobs.

Related Story:  The Texas Grid Pays Thiel-backed Layer1 to not Mine Cryptos in August

Image Credit: Butte-Silver Bow

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