PLATTSBURGH — Luis Miguel Sanchez said the weather forecast can prevent increased energy costs from cryptocurrency mining.
The founder of SGX Analytics, Sanchez was a panelist at the SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Cybersecurity and Technology’s recent discussion, “Bitcoins, Cryptocurrency, Blockchain Technology, Mining and the City of Plattsburgh,” in AuSable Hall.
The data strategist collected area information to determine the correlation between Plattsburgh’s temperatures and its energy consumption.
The two factors unveiled a 90 percent inverse relationship.
“The colder the weather, the higher use of electricity,” he said.
Knowing the connection, Sanchez said that cryptocurrency miners can mine during times of projected low energy consumption and avoid breaching the city’s power supply.
“This is all predictable.”
‘THE NEXT TOWN’
Cryptocurrency mining is a hot topic in the City of Plattsburgh, and has been met with mixed reviews.
The virtual mining process became notorious for its high use of electricity — leading the City of Plattsburgh to surpass its energy cap and increase electrical costs for city residents.
Owner and operator of Triangle Electrical Systems, Inc. Greg Brienza said a single typical miner uses around 1,000 kilowatt hours per month — equal to two households worth of power.
In March, after 10 percent of the city’s monthly power supply was used by cryptocurrency miners, the City of Plattsburgh Common Council imposed an 18-month moratorium to prevent the introduction of any new cryptocurrency mining operations.
Sanchez believes the Plattsburgh policy will lead miners to settle in other areas of low electricity cost.
“It’s easier to just move to the next town,” he said.
The City of Plattsburgh has a large electrical grid that was overbuilt in some ways, Brienza said.
“Think of it as a pipe,” he said. “Most of the time, that pipe is two-thirds empty.”
“They (the City of Plattsburgh) do have a capacity to run more equipment.”
Sanchez believes the solution to Plattsburgh’s cryptocurrency mining upheaval is allowing more miners alongside established policies and regulations.
To utilize the full potential of the “pipe,” Sanchez said policies could coincide with his weather-to-energy equation to regulate mining up to 10 days in advance.
“Knowing that in 10 days the whole city is going to have a (energy) spike,” Sanchez said hypothetically, “then, maybe, we would shut down the machines for those two hours or three.”
The data strategist also said there are ways to reuse the heat radiating from cryptocurrency mining machines.
“It (a room with mining technology machines) is like having a hundred hairdryers at max 24 hours a day,” he said. “That heat is there, while we have some people here that are spending money to heat their homes.
“If you could just capture that heat and put it back in the system — everybody wins.”
Panelists also discussed the limited supply of bitcoins, the need for advanced technology to match the growth of mining and the anonymity of virtual cash in comparison to credit cards.
“It’s not giving away your name, your address, your birth date, your social security number, your banking information,” Bitcoin educator and local expert Tom Pilsworth said. “That’s why people are getting hacked all over the world.”
Pilsworth said cryptocurrency mining is a game that anyone can get in on.
“Since this whole moratorium came up, I know personally of 100 to probably 250 people that are now mining ethereum or Bitcoin here in Plattsburgh, that weren’t just a couple of weeks ago,” he said.
“There is the industrial level — but there’s also businesses and people who are now fully invested in this.”
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