Marathon Digital moves BTC mine in Montana to strive for carbon neutrality

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Bitcoin miner Marathon Digital Holdings is taking a big step towards carbon neutrality with plans to convert its mining facility in Montana to use sustainable energy sources elsewhere.

The Nevada-based company intends to move its coal-fired facility in Hardin, Montana to a site that uses sustainable, carbon-free energy sources. The move is designed to help the company achieve its goal of becoming completely carbon neutral by the end of 2022.

Marathon CEO Fred Thiel stated in a company announcement that he is committed to “ensuring our miners are operated in the most sustainable way possible”.

“With the majority of our fleet already planned for use in renewable energy assets and deployments currently underway, we believe it is an appropriate time to transition our legacy operations away from fossil fuel generation and towards more sustainable energy sources. “

Marathon’s pursuit of clean energy sources at its facilities reflects a shift in the bitcoin mining industry towards an environmental awareness sparked by legislators in jurisdictions not just in the US but around the world.

Greenpeace has launched a campaign to “change the code, not the climate” aimed at pressuring Bitcoin to switch to more energy-efficient technology. Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this week identified crypto as a “major global source” of carbon emissions in its latest report.

Miners are now quick to emphasize their eco-friendly practices. Gryphon Digital Mining and Sphere 3D canceled a corporate merger on April 4, and the companies made sure to issue a joint announcement that they will continue to build carbon-neutral mining facilities. Gryphon achieves carbon neutrality by purchasing carbon offsets, but Sphere 3D has not responded to a request to explain why it is carbon neutral in operation.

Marathon holds the third most bitcoin (BTC) of any publicly traded company, behind Elon Musk’s Tesla and Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy. The rift between him and MicroStrategy widened yesterday when Saylor revealed that his company had purchased an additional 4,167 BTC, worth approximately $190.5 million at the time of purchase.

Despite his strong position in the industry, Thiel told Bloomberg in an April 4 article that he was willing to sell his company if the right offer came along. He said, “If someone is offering us a huge premium over our market cap, I have to consider that, and that could be the right thing for investors to do.”

Thiel believes that energy producers may be most interested in acquiring bitcoin mining operations because they would not have to worry about completing the contracts needed to power their facilities.

A March 2021 study found that energy flexibility in mining facilities can be good for the environment and public energy grids.

Related: Twitter debates the role of renewable energy in Bitcoin mining

A flexible facility is one that can generate its own energy from renewable resources when the power grid is too heavily loaded to handle the load of bitcoin miners. Energy companies that acquire bitcoin miners can use excess or wasted energy to power the mining equipment to efficiently increase cash flow.