The NSW tourism hotspot of Byron Bay is set become home to the nation’s largest Bitcoin mining operation following a deal to power the data centre using renewable energy.
Nasdaq-listed digital infrastructure provider Mawson Infrastructure Group’s Byron 20MW mine – that’s enough power for around 6500 homes – will begin operations this week its first Australian site following the energy supply deal with renewable energy company Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners.
Sydney-headquartered Mawson (previously Cosmos Capital) operates in cryptocurrency mining and digital asset management in the US and Australia. It has flagship facility in Washington County, Georgia, and a co-location facility with Compute North in Kearney, Nebraska.
The company matches energy infrastructure with next-generation mobile data centres solutions to enable the proliferation of blockchain technology.
Mawson will deploy a new generation of its Modular Data Centre designed for Australian conditions. It will add approximately 0.4 EH (exahash the computing version of horsepower) to the company’s global operations.
The Bitcoin mining process is power intensive, with the computers working to solve algorithms for the blockchain. Their impact led to Tesla boss and cryptocurrency fan Elon Musk to halt plans to let customers pay for the cars using Bitcoin due to its environmental impact.
But with renewable sources increasingly generating surplus power to the national grid, data mining centres can take advantage of the excess at low cost, and turn on and off when it’s cost effective.
That one of the world’s energy intensive industry is setting up in one of the most politically Green regions in Australia – it’s home to Zero Co – thanks to renewables makes the choice of location even more remarkable.
The announcement follow’s last week’s Senate report into digital assets which argued that Australia could become a global cryptocurrency hub.
More Australian operations to come
Mawson CEO and founder James Manning said the initial site allows his company to establish a strategic operation in Australia.
Beyond the initial 20MW project, the two companies have identified a pipeline of renewable energy assets across the Quinbrook portfolio in Australia and the US where future sites are expected to be jointly developed.
“Quinbrook’s values, experienced team and diverse operations made them a logical partner. Our partnership reflects our joint view that renewable energy will be key to future data centre infrastructure” Manning said.
“Mawson is seeking to identify renewable energy projects which lead the transition to a decarbonized society, with a key focus on sustainable bitcoin mining. Quinbrook’s deep experience in energy and focus on ESG investment principles made this first project an obvious choice.”
Last month, the company raised US$45 million at US$11.50 a share to list of the US Nasdaq under the ticker code MIGI.