Excessive consumption of electricity by Bitcoin miners has prompted a city in the US state of New York to consider imposing a temporary ban on cryptocurrency mining, reports said.
Plattsburgh is planning a moratorium on new commercial Bitcoin mining operations, the Watertown Daily Times reported, citing Mayor Colin Read.
The temporary ban could be for 18 months, blockchain news website Coindesk reported.
Cryptocurrency mining employs several computers at a single location often called farms, and they continuously solve algorithms to generate new bitcoins. The mining process consumes lot of power and generates lot of heat.
The Municipal Lighting Department has identified at least two mining farms in Plattsburgh and their combined power consumption is around 11.2 megawatts, which is roughly 10 percent of the city’s power supply.
The Plattsburgh BTC at the former Imperial Mills premises hosts twenty computer servers, the local news outlet WCAX reported.
The spike in energy consumption during December and January was partly due to cryptocurrency mining and partly due to the long and severely cold winter.
The city is granted some amount of cheap hydropower generated on St. Lawrence River and this has allowed it to maintain affordable electric rates for the public, the Watertown Daily Times said.
However, Plattsburgh was forced to buy expensive power on the open market to meet the extra demand during the winter. This will raise the cost for consumers.
David Bowman of the Plattsburgh BTC told WCAX that there was no need for a total ban on cryptocurrency mining, instead, miners could be charged more for excessive power consumption.
A public hearing on a possible moratorium on cryptocurrency miners is scheduled for March 15, the WCAX reported.