An Australian coal-mining city has recently turned its gaze towards more future-oriented areas of employment, as it approves a plan to construct a 20MW solar-cell farm. The solar farm will serve to power a datacenter and, rather than coal-mining, new cryptocurrency mining operations. This project is just one of many similar ones, and it comes as cryptocurrency mining is increasingly finding itself in the public eye due to its energy-intensive nature.
The solar farm will be located two kilometers north of the city of Collie, Western Australia. The farm is intended to cover an area of roughly eighteen hectares and is being planned for construction within the coming three to six months. Moreover, the construction on the site will require personnel of between 40 to 80 people, and there will also be a need for several on-site staff that will carry out regular maintenance of the facility once completed. There is also a plan for installing battery storage solutions on the eighteen-hectare lot in the future, in order to ease the effectiveness of on-site energy retention.
The company behind the solar farm is ”Hadouken Pty Ltd”, run by an Australian entrepreneur by the name of Ben Tan. Tan has previously been involved in the power generation company Tesla Holdings, and he was also one of the founders of Vivopower International, a solar power firm listed on Nasdaq. Collie has previously been most known as being a coal-mining town – however, as the coal mines in the area have been nearly depleted, coupled with decreased solar cell costs, coal is no longer as lucrative as it used to be. This may be why the Southern Development Assessment Panel recommended the application with gusto, adding that the proposal will be a ”positive contribution towards establishing a greater presence of the renewable energy sector within the Shire of Collie”.
Tan has indicated that his company will use the energy to mine both Bitcoin as well as other cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency mining is an energy-intensive process due to the complex computations required, and this is becoming more evident, especially as cryptocurrency mining becomes increasingly commonplace. The Australian outback, however, is an excellent location for solar parks, as it receives a huge amount of sunlight and is essentially devoid of preexisting structures. Due to this, the Australian state is seeing several other similar projects undertaken, such as completed solar farms of a total of over 100MW, as well as several others either proposed or under construction. While naturally not all of these solar farms are geared towards cryptocurrency mining, more options for renewable energy is a welcome addition, as some are requesting more ”green” data center and cryptocurrency mining operations.
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