How demand response from data centers can help stabilize the power grid


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Following a prolonged bull market and a series of record highs for seemingly every form of cryptocurrency, bitcoin mining’s energy consumption has now become the industry’s biggest focus, undoubtedly playing a role in the price declines of the past several months.

As a result, the bitcoin mining landscape is seeing an interest and strategic shift toward a more renewable and sustainable means of operation. Given the scale of the bitcoin network, there is an opportunity for the leading crypto mining operations to serve as a building block toward a cleaner future – rather than a deterrent. In fact, it is worth noting that many have already started this process. A 2020 study conducted by the University of Cambridge found that 76% of crypto miners use electricity from renewable sources and that almost 62% of miners are reported to use hydroelectricity.

Further, TIER 0™ data centers can act as valuable partners to energy companies and grid operators for the benefit of the local power grid – rather than simply being passive consumers of power.

Here is a closer look at the newfound challenges posed by the industry shift toward renewables and how TIER 0™ data centers can help provide a muchneeded solution.

The newfound challenge of renewables

At a time when seemingly the entire world is attempting to reduce its carbon footprint by increasing its use of renewables and by decreasing its use of fossil fuels, it would seem we are on the right path toward a cleaner future.

And while this very conversation and subsequent action is certainly beneficial for the environment, relying more heavily on renewables has created new challenges for the grid and for its operators, making it much more difficult to balance generation and consumption in real-time.

This is because the intermittency of renewable energy sources can create challenges during times of peak demand. Energy sources like solar and wind power only deliver energy when the sun is shining or when the wind is blowing.

This is very different than the steady, flexible, and readily available nature we have come to expect from traditional energy sources and poses a new challenge for a grid which has become so reliant on anytime access to conceptually unlimited power.

Data centers and demand response

A promising solution to address the challenge of intermittent energy sources is the use of demand response programs.

Through use of demand response programs, grid operators can more efficiently balance generation and consumption, directing power toward mission-critical applications when they need it most, such as hospitals during times of a local energy crisis.

TIER 0 data centers are ideal candidates for this type of program because the type of compute work performed in these facilities is fully interruptible around-the-clock and may be curtailed by grid operators unlike traditional data centers. This is of tremendous value because to enable intermittent supply from wind and solar, these sources must be matched with intermittent demand, to balance the grid.

Compute North’s role in data center sustainability

Compute North is playing a leading role in the industry-wide movement toward sustainability and renewables, recently entering into a 40MW hosting agreement with Bit Digital to expand the firm’s bitcoin mining operations in North America through the deployment of an additional 13,000 ASIC miners.

At the core of the agreement are the demand response programs Compute North has with select energy suppliers, allowing operations to be curtailed when necessary to align with periods of low supply or peak demand.

Compute North’s TIER 0™ data center design creates the ability to throttle power at each facility as required and to dynamically manage power usage – helping to manage costs, accelerate adoption of renewable energy across the county, and improve stability and resiliency of the grid.

Why Compute North

In addition to providing high-powered computing via cost-efficient energy, our managed services offering facilitates daily monitoring, troubleshooting, hardware upgrades, firmware management, and more, as we go the extra mile so you can mine better for longer.

Benefits of our ASIC miner hosting services include:

  • Cost-competitive infrastructure powered by renewable energy,
  • Secure environment to keep your hardware and your data safe,
  • Core infrastructure with power, space, ambient air cooling, internet access, physical racks, and security,
  • And more.

Contact us today to start exploring hosting solutions for your operation.

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