Following Beijing’s crackdown on energy-sapping Bitcoin mining (BTC), Guizhou province became the first in the country to use its freed energy capacity to advance a climate-conscious agenda.
The hydropower-rich southern province recently announced a plan to build at least 4,500 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in 2021. This will rise to 5,000 in 2022 and to 5,500 the following year.
As the South China Morning Post reports, Beijing’s pressure on Bitcoin miners has released more than 50 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity – enough to support an industrialized city with a population of 1 million for 33 years or to meet the needs of charging needs of 10 million Tesla Model 3 per year.
On the global stage, China has been a forerunner and decisive against crypto mining, forcing pools that once enjoyed cheap and excess power to shut down and move overseas. The provincial authorities of Guizhou are now taking advantage of this surplus to encourage the 38 million inhabitants of the region to adapt their habits in accordance with Beijing’s decarbonization commitments. Cao Hua, partner of private equity firm Unity Asset Management, told reporters that Guizhou’s EV plan is “a double dose of good news for the Chinese economy”:
“Tackling energy-consuming Bitcoin mines and using excess capacity to support the development of the future of mobility is the best example of how China is striving to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality. “
Guizhou, one of the lowest per capita income levels in the country, aims to install 38,000 EV charging stations by 2023, with at least one in each city and 20% of parking spaces in centers commercial vehicles reserved for EV charging stations. Local residents and manufacturers told SCMP they expect provincial authorities to provide incentives and discounts to consumers to boost adoption.
Up the production chain, a local supplier of electric vehicle batteries said the industry was already drawing inspiration from the new program. “We plan to diversify into these areas as they could deploy more incentives to attract companies making products that comply with their environmental policies,” he said.
Nationally, China has reportedly increased its number of public and private electric vehicle charging stations by more than 47% in the past year. Yet the vast majority of infrastructure remains concentrated in the wealthiest cities and regions. The SCMP report claimed that the change in capacity use at Bitcoin’s former mining hubs – among them, Qinghai, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Yunnan and Sichuan – could be a “game changer” for the country’s desire to popularize electric vehicles.
Related: Bitcoin Hash Rate Hits Lowest In 8 Months As Chinese Miners Shut Down
Extending charging stations to rural and underdeveloped areas presents a significant challenge and is necessary to address the “range anxiety” of future EV drivers, that is, the distance they are driving. can go through without ending up at a dead end in terms of battery life. The shift towards electric vehicles therefore requires coordinated efforts by provincial governments, automakers and battery manufacturers to sufficiently increase levels of investment and large-scale production. Right now, Beijing is aiming for three out of five vehicles in the country to be powered by non-fossil fuels by 2030, compared to 50% for the United States.
Besides climatic reasons, several governments around the world have toughened their stance on Bitcoin mining this year, citing concerns about its impact on local energy supply. In late April, a former Kyrgyz government official argued that crypto mining was one of the main drivers of the country’s energy crisis. Authorized Iranian miners have been banned from operating in the country until September in an attempt to conserve electricity during the summer months.