Tech 19 September 2018

Dennis Wafula

Morocco to see 36MW wind-powered crypto mining farm in 2019

Starting in January 2019, 37,000 acres of land in Morocco will be full of bulldozers and construction workers busy building a 36-megawatt (MW) wind farm for cryptocurrency mining.

The Soluna.io project, which is being developed by Brookstone Partners out of New York, will involve the setting up of wind turbines that will generate electricity at the farm to facilitate crypto mining, in this case that of BTC. Speaking to Ars Technica, Soluna spokesperson Yoav Reisler said the company has the rights to a 37,000-acre land near Dakhla in Morocco, which is capable of accommodating up to 900MW of wind capacity.

Majority of the farm’s power will be utilized for crypto mining, although the site’s computing facility is also expected to consume 18MW of the electricity generated from the wind farm. The project will install an energy storage system, which will come in handy when wind power isn’t adequate.

Under Morocco’s Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA), 20% of Soluna’s excess power will be bought by the Moroccan government. Although the law facilitates the selling of excess power back to the grid, renewable energy investors can’t sell more than 20% of the electricity generated. According to John Belizaire, Brookstone CEO, Soluna is considering lobbying the government to amend the country’s law framework to allow the company to sell more than 20% of its excess power.

Amending the existing laws will provide Soluna with an opportunity to increase its footprint in Morocco. Moreover, Soluna will be able to approach large commercial offtakers within and outside Morocco to sell their excess power to more people.

Although the project will kick off in January 2019, the project has already been denounced by the organization Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW), which is fighting against the Moroccan government’s influence in Western Sahara. According to the group, the Moroccan government is violating the rights of the Sahrawi people by legalising the creation of the crypto farm in Western Sahara. They also accused the Moroccan government of using the crypto mining farm to exercise its authority in Western Sahara.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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