A remote location in Morocco has become a strategic spot to build a 900-megawatt wind farm as bitcoin miners look for cheap electricity in order to set up their computing centers. The spot south of Marrakesh is likely to turn into a cryptocurrency mining hub as the ecosystem favors renewable energy rather than utility grids fed by traditional fuels like coal.
Company Looks to Raise $100 Million to Create a 900-Megawatt Wind Farm for Bitcoin Mining
Some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining companies have moved their operations to Canada, Georgia, and Iceland, in a quest for cheap electricity powered by renewable energy.
New York private equity firm Brookstone Partners announced it is eyeing a location wedged between the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Ocean to develop a 900-megawatt wind farm which would likely attract a multitude of Bitcoin miners as well.
Brookstone Partners is currently raising cash to enter the first phase of the development project, managing general partner Michael Toporek told Bloomberg.
“We have exclusive rights to the area for a wind farm, but the issue was there’s no real place to put the electricity. These days, what you can do with stranded power is set up a computing center, develop this as an off-grid project.”
Soluna, which was founded this year by Brookstone, will be the face of the fundraiser via an initial coin offering (ICO). It is looking to gather $100 million from investors to build the first 36 megawatts of turbines in a project that could eventually cost up to $3 billion upon completion.
The project focuses on vertical integration, wind-powered renewable energy, and utility-scale operations, Soluna CEO John Belizaire said on the announcement.
“Our vision is to power the blockchain with clean, renewable energy that we own and control. Soluna will address the growing demand for energy to power today’s growing blockchain networks, and will create the world’s first “service node,” providing high-density computing for future blockchain networks.”
Bloomberg found mixed opinions about the project, including from its own analyst Itamar Orlandi who believes Soluna may struggle with intermittency.
“The power from the wind farm is intermittent and will probably reduce the utilization factor of the data center as long as it is off-grid. Their revenue from the mining operation will be unpredictable and possibly volatile. It’s not clear to me how they make a 20- to 30-year infrastructure investment backed against that kind of revenue stream.”
The 37,000-acres in southern Morocco where the wind farm is part of a disputed territory, with the U.S. CIA describing it as a non-self-governing territory. This issue could drive away investors unwilling to take geopolitical risks.