Cryptocurrency Mining: Bringing Montana’s Electrical Grid Into The 21st Century
"By allowing for solutions that stabilize the energy grid we can ensure that the Montana way of life remains strong throughout the 21st century."
Here at Frontier we work on a wide variety of issues affecting Montanans but of all the topics we work on, one question in particular always seems to come up the most: “What on earth is cryptocurrency mining and what does that have to do with me?”
If you’ve asked that question, you’re not alone!
To put it simply, cryptocurrency is digital currency that utilizes encryption to allow transactions without a centralized entity controlling it–like a bank or the government.
Cryptocurrency mining is when someone dedicates a portion of their computer toward verifying those transactions, in return for a payment for their services.
But why does this matter to you?
For many Montanans, they have no plans to start using crypto currency, let alone start a crypto-mine, but that doesn’t mean they can’t receive serious benefits from it.
Cryptocurrency mines, and other businesses like them, provide an invaluable service to our energy grid. With the demand for energy fluctuating minute by minute, energy providers need a reliable way to offload excess energy when demand is low and divert energy back to the grid when demand is high – that’s where cryptocurrency mining comes in.
By increasing energy consumption at times when there is low demand on the grid and decreasing energy consumption at times of high demand, cryptocurrency mines can play a vital role in ensuring that you have the power you need, when you need it. This is especially important as less consistent energy sources such as wind and solar are introduced to the grid.
During a hearing earlier this year on a bill to protect cryptocurrency miners, cryptocurrency advocate, Dennis Porter explained to the Montana Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs Committee how cryptocurrency miners in Texas were able to scale down energy consumption enough to return 1500 megawatts back onto the grid during the state’s worst energy crisis on record. That’s enough power to heat 1.5 million small homes or 300 large hospitals.
Maintaining the stability of the energy grid is essential to ensuring Montanans have the power they need to operate farm equipment, receive medical care and power businesses, whenever it is needed. By allowing for solutions that stabilize the energy grid we can ensure that the Montana way of life remains strong throughout the 21st century.
The Wildfire Crisis Threatens Affordable Home Insurance
Earlier this week, the American International Group (AIG) announced that they will begin to curb home-insurance sales in fire prone areas, including in some parts of Montana. This occurred in the wake of State Farm and Allstate Insurance Co. announcing plans to stop writing new policies in fire-prone California.
Our Take: As we discussed in our 2023 Forest Management Policy Playbook, extreme fire risk can severely impact the ability of Montanans to get affordable home insurance. Luckily, Montana leaders can help to mitigate this by developing a model voluntary wildfire mitigation certification program to help reduce risk and increase affordable insurance opportunities.
New Charter School Research
This week, Stanford University’s Center For Research On Educational Outcomes released a new report detailing how charter schools performed throughout the nation. The report found that on average charter school students are learning at a faster rate than their peers. This was especially true for minority students and those students living in impoverished communities.
Our Take: It goes without saying that no two students are the same and for far too long Montana has had a one-size-fits-all approach to education. However, with the passage of recent education reforms, Montana families will finally be able to enjoy new educational opportunities.
Wildfire Smoke Heads East
Last week, the east coast of the U.S. received a realistic look into an all too common occurrence in the west when thick orange smoke from Canadian wildfires blanketed cities from Boston to Baltimore.
Our Take: While this may be a new experience for those who live on the eastern seaboard, smoke filled skies are a yearly reality for Montanans. But it doesn’t have to be this way, by increasing the scale of forest management projects that make our forest healthier and more resilient – like prescribed burns and thinning – we can finally begin to address the wildfire crisis and the smoke that impacts us all.