A Colorado-based cryptocurrency data center is set to add 50 megawatts of energy to its consumption; however, this didn’t sit well with local clean-energy advocates who believe that it will set a precedent for other firms to invade the state. The data center is expected to employ over 80 locals at an average wage of $50,000, reviving the dwindling economy in the small town of Pueblo.
AX2 Data Center will be based in Pueblo, a city in Colorado. The center, worth $100 million is expected to revitalize the ailing economy of the city which has lagged behind its peers such as Colorado Spring. According to a report by Energy News US, the center will be completed by the end of 2019 and could begin limited operations as early as September.
However, the center has been the source of controversy and criticism for clean energy advocates in the state. According to some of the members of Pueblo’s Energy Future, an advocacy group pushing for the city to turn 100% to renewable energy, the move would go against Pueblo’s clean energy aspirations.
One of the members, David Cockrell, stated, “Fifty more megawatts of this largely coal-fired power will essentially wipe out the gains in renewable generation they boast from their new Busch Ranch II wind farm.”
Not everyone is against the establishment of the data center. Pueblo’s mayor, Nick Gradisar, is one of those who believe that the town is set to gain from the center. He stated, “I do not think the company’s presence or its energy needs will dramatically impact our vision for renewable energy. I personally believe that the cheapest energy will be from renewables in the very near future.”
Black Hills Energy, Pueblo’s primary energy provider, applied for permission from the city council to avail its services at a discounted rate. The utility company applied for the permit in January, deciding at the time not to disclose any more details about the company it was working with. The company assured the city council that the center will bring up to $40 million in economic benefits over the first five years.
Pueblo has been on a path to using renewable energy, the report revealed. In 2017, the city council adopted a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035. The advocates believe that the data center will go against this goal.
However, despite its bad reputation, the crypto industry has fought to shed off its notorious association with excess energy consumption. Crypto miners recently made known to the world that they aren’t an environmental threat but are instead driving renewable energy adoption.
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