According to media, the rainy season could start in late May. Authorities will strengthen surveillance of energy use due to high demand.
Some Bitcoin mining farms in China’s Sichuan province have been disconnecting their mining equipment due to electricity shortages caused by the delay of the rainy season.
On May 18th, a local government announced that the electricity load in the region has increased by 22% since May 1st. However, the flow of water in local rivers has decreased by 20%, resulting in a deficit of hydroelectric supply.
Under such circumstances, some areas may experience power outages at times of high demand, and prolonged high temperatures will further exacerbate the voltage. The document says that, whilst managing to increase electricity supply, the authorities will strengthen surveillance and timely energy management in operations with high electricity costs.
There is no specific mention that operators are under close surveillance, but everyone knows that Bitcoin mining is an activity that relies on heavy use of electricity.
According to local mining farm operators, the rainy season, which usually begins in May, has delayed this year and prolonged high temperatures in Sichuan, leading to an increase in electricity demand. The result of this situation is that some parts of the allocated power supply for Bitcoin miners went for use by residents and local businesses.
Some miners have had power outages for more than three days, and some others can only mine during the night. Areas near the capital city of Sichuan Chengdu, such as Wenchuan, are suffering from severe power cuts. Some remote places such as Ya’an and Kangding, with little electricity demand and enough rainfall, have few electricity failures.
However, miners know the unstable factor of the rainy season well, so they understand that mining during this period is a risky business. The rainy season in 2019 was terrible for miners, since it started without rains during the first month and then storms damaged many devices.
More Government Involvement
Another factor in this year’s rainy season is the change in the attitude of local governments towards Bitcoin mining operations. With the introduction of hydroelectric power consumption zones, local governments in Sichuan have intensified their support for compliance with mining operations.
This seems to be good news for the mining industry, especially for those entering the scene. However, mining veterans worry about possible stronger energy measures towards existing miners with illegal building or tax problems.
In early May, a mining farm in Wenchuan ‒ Sichuan ‒ was reportedly closed because of taxes and by the environmental protection department. They got a fine of 10 million yuan (equivalent to USD 1.4 million) and had to disconnect all of their mining machines.
At the moment, inadequate access to electricity is the biggest impediment to Bitcoin mining. According to the local weather forecast, it looks as though the rains will not start until the end of May or the beginning of June this year.
Bitcoin’s mining difficulty, a metric that shows how difficult it is for Bitcoin miners to solve the blocks of the blockchain to receive a reward, decreased by 6% last May 20th, in response to the hash rate drop after the third halving. The downward adjustment indicates that more miners have stopped working in recent weeks.
If the rainy season in the world capital of Bitcoin mining still refuses to come, more miners may be forced to disconnect their machines. Therefore, it is hard to predict to what extent the Bitcoin network’s mining difficulty and the hash rate will be affected.
By Willmen Blanco