The Kentucky PSC is investigating contracts between Kentucky Power and two crypto miners, Ebon International and Bitiki-KY.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC), a three-member board in the Kentucky state government that regulates utilities, is reportedly investigating two contracts “that would give discounted electricity rates to new cryptocurrency mining operations.”
According to the statement shared by environmental law group Earthjustice, the PSC aims to determine whether applied discounts would increase electricity prices for Kentucky residents.
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The first contract involves Kentucky Power and Ebon International, LLC, which would give an electricity discount to the Ebon Facility, a 250 MW cryptocurrency mining operation located in the city of Louisa.
The second contract is between Kentucky Power and Bitiki-KY, which has a 13 MW “cryptocurrency mining facility in Waverly, KY.” In its statement, Earthjustice emphasized that Bitiki-KY has already received a $250,000 tax credit from Kentucky after the state launched a tax break bill for local crypto miners.
When talking about the investigation, Earthjustice Senior Attorney in the Clean Energy Program, Thomas Cmar, stated:
We’re looking forward to the upcoming hearings and discovery process so Kentuckians can know exactly what they would be paying for by subsidizing these facilities. Cryptocurrency mining is a largely unregulated and highly energy intensive industry that could cost everyday Kentuckians big.
On top of that, in a statement, Earthjustice called crypto mining the industry, which is “extremely and exponentially energy-intensive by design.” Moreover, the law group argued that crypto mining companies don’t bring value to the community, emphasizing a lack of employment opportunities created by mining companies.
The Executive Director of the Kentucky Conservation Committee, Lane Boldman, noted:
The PSC must carefully scrutinize the contracts for Ebon International and Bitiki-KY, to ensure that Kentuckians are protected from these risks, and do the same for any future cryptocurrency miners that want to exploit our state and our wallets.
Kentucky is reportedly responsible for 20% of all proof-of-work mining activities in the United States.