Soluna Technologies, Ltd. has announced plans to develop a 900 MW wind farm in Morocco which will power a utility-scale blockchain computing facility. The total investment required for the project is estimated to be up to US$3 billion.
Blockchain was invented in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin. At present, one bitcoin is worth over US$7,600. Its usage requires bitcoin mining - the process by which transactions are verified and added to the blockchain, and also the means through which new bitcoin are released. This is problematic.
According to Soluna, as of June 2018, bitcoin mining used approximately 71 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy per year, equivalent to almost 10% of China’s annual energy usage, representing an unsustainable growth in demand on the global energy resources, especially as the process is powered by environmentally damaging fossil fuels.
Soluna has set out to be the world’s first utility-scale blockchain infrastructure company powered by its own private renewable energy sources, with this 900 MW wind farm being the first step to reaching that goal.
The company has exclusive rights to a 37,000-acre site in southern Morocco. By design, the wind project will be an off-grid operation. Soluna plans to integrate it with the grid, with high-voltage transmission lines expected to reach the site by mid-2019. If it is not connected to the grid, the site will be one of the largest off-grid mining operations in the world.
The wind farm will be installed in phases. The company is reportedly planning to raise US$100 million for the construction of the first 36 MW phase through an initial coin offering.
Soluna was founded earlier this year by New York-based private equity firm Brookstone Partners.