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One crypto mining company is looking to make its solar power debut in Montana and is planning one of the largest solar projects in the United States known as the Basin Creek Solar Project.
The 1,600-acre solar project is destined for Montana and proposed by Madison River Equity LLC. But unlike other renewable energy projects that are met with mostly open arms, this one is meeting some resistance.
For starters, the size is staggering. It may seem odd that the 300MW solar project will power in excess of 40,000 homes when the entire county only has about 14,000. It also may seem strange that the 300MW project more than doubles the entire state’s solar capacity, which for now stands at 117MW.
But it’s important to note that Madison River Equity is a subsidiary of FX Solutions, which also manages a crypto mining company called Atlas Power. And Atlas has some large cryptocurrency ambitions that would see the miner add another eight buildings to its current operations.
Currently, the plan is for Atlas Power to purchase the solar project after it is built to power its mining operations, which is expected to use 75MW of power. Atlas has previously mined bitcoin but is now looking at mining ethereum so it can use GPU processers instead of the power-hog ASIC machines.
Atlas is hopeful that it can power all of its operations from the solar array, and sell the excess—of which there will be a lot.
The crypto mining aspect is the part that the local community seems to take issue with. For starters, residents are already at odds with the crypto miner because of the noisy fans. Now, the miner is talking about building a monstrosity of a solar plant, not for the purposes of displacing more energy-intensive power sources, but to mine bitcoin. The locals are not sure that sacrificing their views that the 12-foot array would impede is worth it.
MRE will seek a special use permit for the array on June 17, but may find resistance.
By Julianne Geiger For Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.