In a nutshell: The Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant, near Albany NY, is pretty much the oldest renewable power plant still in operation in America. Nowadays, it mainly uses its original equipment from 1897 to power a Bitcoin mining farm.
In the 1980s, the National Grid was considering shutting down the defunct plant when Albany Engineering Corp. agreed to operate it under a 40-year lease if the National Grid purchased its electricity. It took Albany Engineering seven years to acquire all the right licenses, and as soon as they got it, the Grid reneged on its agreement.
“National Grid called me the next day and told me we weren’t going to honor this contract. And if you don’t like it, take it to the judge, ”Jim Besha, CEO of Albany Engineering, told Albany. Union of times. And that is what he did.
A decade later, they came to an agreement, and the National Grid had to cede ownership of the plant and pay for it to be repaired after a fire and flood wreaked havoc as it failed. was not supervised. The factory reopened in August 2003.
But this year, Albany Engineering started using some of its electricity. When they sell to the Grid, they get paid around 3 cents per kilowatt hour, but they earn triple when mining Bitcoin. “We’re doing it right next to it, experiencing it,” Besha said. “We buy used servers. “
Besha collects Bitcoin at the end of each week instead of holding it. He would rather sell renewable electricity to real people, he says, but operating a historic power plant doesn’t come cheap.
Image Credit: Paul Buckowski, Albany Times Union