Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant Revives, Thanks to Bitcoin
Thursday’s Local reports from Mechanicville, a city in Saratoga County, New York, reported that a 123-year-old hydroelectric plant was almost demolished; fortunately, this did not happen; in fact, the plant currently mines bitcoin.
Mining bitcoin is one of the primary reasons why the plant still stands today, among several other reasons. The hydroelectric plant, considered one of the oldest renewable energy plants globally, built in 1897, is currently making more money mining bitcoin than selling electricity to the National Grid.
123-Year-Old Hydroelectric Plant in Mechanicville Mines Bitcoin
The historical Mechanicville district in New York has an 18.3-acre site, one of the oldest renewable energy plants in the world. Hudson River Transmission Company built the Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant in 1897, and several years after, the plant was almost dismantled.
Albany Engineering Corp (AEC) currently owns and operates the plant. The company got into a deal with National Grid to continuously access cheap renewable energy. Mining Bitcoin brought to light and revived the plant. Besides, AEC’s CEO, Jim Besha, told the local news that the firm makes three times more than it would selling National Grid electricity.
“We actually make more money with bitcoin than selling the electricity to National Grid,” Besha reported.
The company makes $0.03 per kilowatt-hour selling National Grid power, which is three times less than the amount they get from mining bitcoin. Besha further said,
“It’s the best (type of bitcoin mining) because we’re using renewable energy….We’re just doing it on the side, experimenting with it. We’re buying used servers.”
Albany Engineering Corp Changes the Bitcoin Into Cash
As stated by Besha, the AEC CEO is slightly cynical of bitcoin to use it as a long-term investment; therefore, the firm immediately changes the bitcoins received to cash. Currently, one bitcoin is worth roughly $ 33,000.
The power site has a powerhouse made in 1897, a concrete no-overflow dam, and an earth embankment. Additionally, the site uses a 700-foot-long overflow dam made of concrete.
Accordingly, AEC has used many resources and capital to renovate the hydroelectric plant, and in 1989, the National Register of Historic Places acknowledged and added the facility to its records.
Besha also disclosed that the company would like to possibly make more money by selling renewable energy to be used as energy. However, that goal and effort have been weakened, if not delayed, by decades of lawfully fighting with National Grid.
The Hydroelectric Plant and AEC’s Fall Out with National Grid
The fallout between AEC and National Grid started in 1986 when National Grid asked AEC to renovate and operate the hydroelectric plant. The plant had a lot of old machinery dating back to 1897 and powered two 2-megawatt transformers.
As a result, National Grid inquired with Besha’s firm on how to deal with the old machinery. Besha said that he told them to ” preserve it,” They told him, ” we’ll lease the plant to you and buy the power for 40 years.” The two parties signed a contract, and Besh’a firm renovated the plant, and by 1993, it was finished and approved.
Unfortunately, National Grid did not do as promised, instead as Besha says,
“National Grid called me up the next day and said, we’re not going to honor this contract. And if you don’t like it, take it to the judge”.
This was accompanied by National Grid’s plan to dismantle the plant. Besha sued, and it took ten years to settle finally. The plant is now in its third century per Besha, and it has been selected for landmark status and is currently mining bitcoin.