Texas Senate Committee Hears Testimony On Bill That Would Ban Certain Energy Arrangements With Bitcoin Miners

Pierre Rochard, VP of research at Riot Platforms testified yesterday that Bitcoin is a net positive for the state.

The Senate Committee on Business and Commerce heard testimony in regards to a Texas bill that would prohibit flexible load agreements between bitcoin miners and energy providers yesterday.

The bill aims to ban the arrangements in which energy providers like ERCOT would pay bitcoin mining operators to turn off their facilities, effectively freeing the now-excess energy for usage during emergencies or high demand time periods.

Bitcoin Policy Institute Senior Fellow Natalie Smolenski notes in a tweet that the bill also seeks to “Ban tax abatements for miners in Texas because ‘mining is already projected to grow in the state’”

Riot Platforms’ Vice President of Research Pierre Rochard testified that the presence of the company in Texas has beneficial impacts on rural communities, employment and energy production.

“Bitcoin miners are the number one employer in Rockdale. Bitcoin miners are also the number one taxpayer to Rockdale ISD. Bitcoin mining is good for rural education.”

“Even if you are skeptical of bitcoin, these abatements have been highly effective at revitalizing rural communities.”

Proponents of the bill, like its sponsor State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, cites the state’s goal of increasing energy production, saying that the mining industry’s usage of this energy and subsequent shutoff arrangements with ERCOT “is a part of their business model.”

But as Bitcoin Magazine’s Mark Goodwin notes, energy production curves of renewables, which represents a growing proportion of the state’s energy, will potentially improve, not degrade, with the usage of bitcoin mining.