Cryptocurrency mining company Layer1, backed by billionaire Peter Thiel, shut down its data processing center for about 30 minutes. It earned money not through Bitcoin, but through selling electricity, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday 1 September.
During hot summer days without any wind, Layer1 can resell its energy supplies to electric companies for profit.
Recently, when energy prices in Texas crossed $200 per megawatt-hour, Layer1 achieved a profit of 700%, according to founder and CEO Alexander Legle.
“When evening falls, with energy prices falling to zero or less in light of the abundance of supplies of wind energy, they can curb operations to the extent that the electricity panels can handle,” Bloomberg noted.
“When that happens, we have the money to produce Bitcoin,” Legle said.
This strategy is part of a sweeping change in how major electricity users interact with the grid, Bloomberg added.
Tech giants and others are making adjustments in processes every hour in order to obtain the cleanest and cheapest energy.
Currently, Bloomberg said, the networks rely on natural gas and fossil fuels to increase production when demand reaches a peak. When consumers adjust consumption, wind and solar energy can handle the overload.
Bitcoin mining is not a natural and environmentally friendly option. It requires large amounts of electricity, usually from fossil fuels, said Bloomberg.
Layer1 succeeded in mitigating this by establishing a power plant that uses wind more than anywhere else in the US.
The company can operate as a power station as it ramps up and down according to the plant’s needs, added Bloomberg.
In June, Layer1 became the first company to qualify as what the Electric Reliability Council of Texas calls a “controllable load resource”. This means they are paid to cut their use when needed.