A remote location in Morocco has been earmarked as the best site for building the world’s first utility-scale blockchain computing facility. US-based Soluna Technologies unveiled plans on Friday to build a 900-megawatt wind farm power plant in Morocco, which will be integrated with its own renewable energy resources.
Wedged between the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Ocean, Soluna’s flagship wind farm will be developed in a Class I wind site, where wind speeds reach over 22 miles per hour. It is spread across 37000-acres in Southern Morocco. If successfully completed, the wind farm would easily attract a multitude of cryptocurrency miners as mining operations move to areas with cheap electricity powered by renewable energy.
Soluna is the first company in the world to develop a blockchain cloud computing center that focuses on vertical integration, wind-powered renewable energy, and utility scale operations. The wind farm power plant is designed for the off-grid operation though the company is planning to connect it to the grid. The goal is to produce a potential 900 megawatts but the firm expects that the high voltage transmission lines will reach the site by mid-next year.
The new wind farm will be combined with the company’s private computing facilities to ensure blockchain is adopted in a more eco-friendly and sustainable way. Soluna says that it owns and controls the power produced in each site, which means it is able to lock in energy that takes up only 40 percent of mining operational costs. The company also claims that by being off-grid, it is free from government crackdown, as has been the case with some operations in China that have been found to take local power and drive up prices.
Critics point to the growing energy consumption required to sustain and drive the blockchain revolution as one of the reasons why they doubt blockchain’s potential. Indeed blockchain networks consume a lot of energy when verifying and validating transactions. As of June 2018, Bitcoin mining consumed 71 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, according to Digiconomist analysis. To help curb this growing environmental concern, initiatives such as the Carbon Grid Protocol have emerged to enable blockchain network operators and developers to lower carbon footprint at a per transaction level.
But with the king of Morocco unveiling plans to produce more than 52 percent of its electricity through green power by 2030, a project like Soluna could help drive the country’s wider transition to renewable energy and also inspire the crypto ecosystem to start using clean, low-cost renewable energy to power their infrastructure.