electricity

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Cryptocurrency companies in Central Washington were left to wait in suspense on Tuesday after they asked a federal judge in Spokane to block an imminent, targeted electric rate increase. The energy-intensive data center operators claim they would be crippled by the Grant County Public Utility District rate hike. The utility says the case is without merit.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

One of the biggest players in the global cryptocurrency space has established a foothold in the Pacific Northwest. China-based Bitmain Technologies held a ribbon cutting for a $20 million data center near the Wenatchee airport on Friday. A celebratory mood ran through the grand opening despite headwinds besetting the virtual currency sector.

Wikimedia

In the last few years, rock-bottom electricity rates have attracted bitcoin miners and other virtual currency entrepreneurs to central Washington state. But in Chelan and Grant counties, that lure may be on the wane because of looming power price hikes.


Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

When the price of one bitcoin soared to almost $20,000 late last year, an influx of entrepreneurs and developers came to the Pacific Northwest in search of cheap hydropower to do bitcoin "mining."

But now cities, counties and utilities at the epicenter in central Washington are hitting the pause button. The cryptocurrency businesses bring tech jobs—but they are also electricity hogs.

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A public utility in north central Washington state wants to root out a new kind of outlaw: the rogue bitcoin miner.

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Some players in an emerging technology industry in central Washington state are about to face higher electric bills. That’s because a major utility wants to protect itself from the uncertainties surrounding the trade in virtual currencies such as bitcoin.

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By the year 2030, the electricity that most Oregonians use won't be powered by coal. That's the goal of a measure that's moving through the Oregon Legislature. The state House approved the plan Tuesday.

Salcido Connection, Inc.

One of the Northwest’s selling points is its cheap hydropower. That’s why in recent years data centers have sprouted along the Columbia River in both Washington and Oregon.

But in north central Washington, an emerging power-hungry industry is meeting with some resistance. It involves the making and managing of the virtual currency called bitcoin.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

It takes a lot of electricity to grow marijuana indoors. Lights and ventilating fans are some of the biggest culprits.

Miriam Duerr / Washington Department of Ecology

The Obama administration set carbon dioxide limits for electric power plants Monday. The objective is to combat climate change by clamping down on power plant pollution, especially coal-fired electricity.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

British Columbia has staked out a negotiating position on a cross-border water treaty that puts it at odds with public utilities and ratepayers in the U.S. Northwest.

New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Electric water heaters eat up a lot of power -- and can take up about a fifth of your electricity bill. But there’s a hot new thing in the water heater world.

Miriam Duerr / Washington Department of Ecology

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has laid out his wish list for how he'd like the state to combat global warming pollution.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Here's a little known fact that may affect your power bill: Every year, public utilities in the Northwest give British Columbia several hundred million dollars worth of electricity. That's to compensate Canada for managing the upper Columbia River to minimize flooding and maximize hydropower downstream.

Americans are pushing for a better deal, but the B.C. government is preparing to defend what's now considered an entitlement.