Guizhou province, following Beijing's crackdown against energy-sapping Bitcoin mining (BTC), has become the first country to use its newly freed up power capacity to promote a climate-conscious agenda.
Recently, the hydroelectrically rich southern province announced plans to build at most 4,500 electric vehicle (EV-) charging stations by 2021. The number of stations will increase to at least 5,000 by 2022, and then to 5,500 in the next year.
As the South China Morning Post reported, Beijing's pressure on Bitcoin miners has freed up over 50 terawatt-hours of electricity -- enough to sustain an industrialized city with a population of 1 million for 33 years or to fulfill the charging needs of 10 million Tesla Model 3s a year.
China has been a leading and decisive force on the global stage against crypto mining. This has forced pools that once made money from cheap, surferit power to shut down and move overseas. Guizhou's provincial authorities are using this surfeit to encourage the 38 million residents of the region to adopt decarbonization practices in order to capitalize on it. Cao Hua, a partner in the private equity firm Unity Asset Management, stated that Guizhou's EV Plan is "a double dose" of good news for China.
China's best strategy for reaching its carbon neutrality goal is to reduce the power consumption of Bitcoin mines and use the excess capacity to develop the future of mobility.
Guizhou is one of the lowest per capita income areas in the country. It aims to install 38,000 EV charging stations before 2023. There will be at least one station in each town, and 20% of parking bays at shopping centers reserved for EV charging. Manufacturers and local residents told South China Morning Post they expect provincial authorities offer incentives and discounts for boosting uptake.
One local EV battery supplier stated that the new agenda is being adopted upstream. He said that they are looking at expanding into these areas as they might offer more incentives to companies who produce products that comply with their environmental policies.
China has reported that it has increased the number of EV charging stations, both public and private, by 47% over the past year. The vast majority of infrastructure is still concentrated in the most wealthy cities and regions. According to the SCMP, the shift in capacity usage at former Bitcoin mining centres -- including Qinghai and Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, Xinjiang, Yunnan, Yunnan, Sichuan -- could prove to be a game-changer for the country's push to popularize EVs.
It is a challenge to extend charging stations to rural areas and underdeveloped regions. This is necessary to reduce potential EV driver's "range anxiety", i.e. how far they can drive without running out of battery life. To make the transition to EVs a success, it is necessary for provincial governments, carmakers, and battery manufacturers to coordinate their efforts to increase investment and scale up production. China is currently aiming to have three out of five cars in the country powered by non-fossilfuels by 2030. This compares with the US's 50% goal.
Aside from concerns about climate change, many governments around the world have reaffirmed their opposition to Bitcoin mining in this year's global elections. They cite concerns about its potential impact on local energy supply. In late April, a former Kyrgyz government official argued that crypto mining was a major driver of the country's energy crisis. Licensed Iranian miners have been banned from operating in the country until September in a bid to conserve power during the summer months.