Crypto mining firm Soluna is creating a 900 MW wind-powered crypto mining farm in the Saharan Desert, in southern Morocco. It is being built on a 37,000-acre site that is classified as a Class 1 wind site, due to average wind speeds in excess of 22 mph, making it one of the best spots in the world to generate renewable energy from wind power.
The Sahara Desert is a huge, desolate tract of sand that stretches across Northern Africa. The Soluna wind-powered crypto mining farm is located far enough north that it is under persistent mid-latitude westerlies coming straight off the Atlantic Ocean, and the combination of ocean and flat desert allows for winds to blow across the region without being slowed down by friction.
The crypto mining farm will be off grid and all of the wind power will go towards mining rigs. There is a chance that transmission lines will be installed in 2019 to connect the wind farm to Morocco’s power grid, but if this doesn’t happen it will be the largest off grid, self-sufficient, crypto farm in the world.
When the Soluna wind farm achieves 900 MW it will lead to an incredibly high hash rate. For example, Bitmain’s S9 Antminer produces 13.5 TH/s at 1600 W, so 900 MW could power 562,500 S9 Antminers, which would yield a hash rate of 7.6 Exahash/s. That is more than 10% the size of the entire Bitcoin mining hash rate.
Bitcoin’s hash rate will drastically increase long term, however, and Soluna’s wind farm is going to take many years to build. They are expecting 36 MW by 2020, and 900 MW by 2023. Bitcoin’s hash rate will go up tremendously in that time. Simultaneously, technology will drastically improve. Right now miners use 16 nm chips, but by 2023 they will very likely be using 7 nm chips or even 5 nm chips, which are far more energy efficient.
Therefore, the wind farm’s hash rate is impossible to estimate but it will likely be quite huge and will be considered one of the many mining supersites that are popping up across the globe. Bitmain, Canaan, and other big crypto mining firms are investing up to USD 1 billion in mining supersites, which will spike Bitcoin’s hash rate to unprecedented levels, and probably will make personal mining operations obsolete.
It is definitely a positive trend that a mining supersite is being built with renewable wind energy. There has been concern over Bitcoin mining’s damage to the environment since it consumes tremendous amounts of electricity. However, if renewable energy is used instead of fossil fuels, then environmental damage is minimal.
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