On May 5, McDermott Will & Emery partners Ed Zaelke and Chris Gladbach hosted P.J. Lee, Dave Perrill and Jeff Jackson of Compute North to discuss the relationship between the rapidly expanding computing and cryptocurrency industries and the power sector.
Below are the key takeaways from the webinar:
- Compute North’s business model focuses on the power of distributed computing in cryptocurrency mining and large-scale data processing for uses with non-essential, flexible demand. By responding to real-time demand response signals and shutting down in less than 10 seconds, these distributed computing facilities can also participate in the demand response market and act as ancillary service resources.
- Modular computing facilities (similar to modular energy storage) allow distributed computing loads to be located nearer to generation, reducing congestion and curtailment risks and providing new customers for merchant facilities and other stranded power producing assets.
- Compute North’s distributed computing facilities are targeted at facilities as low as 20 MW in size, but are considering facilities of up to a full buildout of 1 GW.
- Although Compute North’s distributed computing currently requires higher use factors (and likely imports from the grid or separate generation assets), one of its long-term goals is to match the generation of a particular power producing facility.
- Successful cryptocurrency mining and other flexible distributed computing needs require computing facilities to be the lowest marginal cost producer. By providing services at 1/15th the cost of hypercomputing technologies, new data processing work cases are likely further increasing the demand for and power of distributed computing.
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