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Lancium raises $150 million for renewable-run bitcoin mines in Texas

This image shows an Amazon wind farm in Texas.

Amazon

HOUSTON – Houston-based tech company Lancium announced Tuesday it raised $150 million to build bitcoin mines across Texas that will run on renewable energy. 

In the year ahead, the company plans to launch over 2,000 megawatts of capacity across its multiple sites, which Lancium refers to as "Clean Campuses." To put that in context, downtown Dallas uses 200 megawatts worth of power. 

The funding round was led by clean energy company Hanwha Solutions, along with other power companies, Lancium said.

"I think the fact that it's all energy companies investing suggests that we have a shared vision of the role bitcoin mining should play in the grid," said Lancium Chief Executive Officer Michael McNamara.

Bitcoin mining serves two purposes: To create new coins and to maintain a log of all transactions of existing digital tokens. To do that, miners around the globe contribute their computing power to verifying all bitcoin transactions. 

Logging these exchanges takes a lot of energy, but these energy buyers also offer something that Texas desperately needs right now: a flexible customer, willing to buy when supply is abundant and shut down when it's not. That flexibility is a huge help when it comes to stabilizing a grid that is rapidly onboarding inherently unstable sources of power like wind and solar. 

When it's especially windy or sunny, the grid is flush with power and not always replete with sufficient takers. But when it's cloudy and there isn't a breeze, demand will sometimes outstrip supply. In either case, it skews the supply and demand curve to extreme prices, neither of which is good for the grid as a whole. Bitcoin mining helps to even out those price swings.

Texas also has a lot to offer the miners. 

The state boasts some of the cheapest sources of energy on the planet – a major incentive to miners who compete in a low-mar...

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