One of Russia’s biggest hydroelectric power producers has confirmed its exploration of Bitcoin mining as another avenue of business.
According to a report from Coindesk, world-renowned aluminium and power producer EN+ has decided to pursue a joint venture with local Bitcoin mining firm BitRiver. EN+ told the publication that it had its first dealings with the cryptocurrency mining sector when it began selling power to BitRiver’s mining operation three years ago.
The firm is said to own the biggest cryptocurrency mining data centre in Russia, which hosts around 100 megawatts worth of ASIC miners at the site near the EN+ hydropower plant in Bratsk, Siberia.
The EN+ page on the London Stock Exchange website claims that the group is the largest independent hydro generator in the world, with 15.1 GW of installed hydro power capacity.
Coindesk reports that the two companies have joined forces to set up a new Bitcoin mining datacenter, which EN+ owns a majority 80% stake of. The new site will offer miners 10 megawatts of power to house their equipment at the site. This includes a potential expansion to 40 megawatts of hosting potential.
EN+ chief financial officer Mikhail Khardikov told Coindesk that cryptocurrency mining is becoming a lucrative alternative revenue stream for electricity producers.
“Our main business is combining the production of electricity and aluminium, which allows for turning electricity right into aluminium production, instead of selling it via the power grid [to consumers]. Data centers, especially for the mining farms, are an even more attractive way of turning electricity into a product,” Khardikov told the publication.
Fighting the good fight
The Russian government is expected to publish its comprehensive cryptocurrency regulatory bill ‘On Digital Currency’, in December this year.
Reports from Russia in September 2020 suggested that the government was considering clamping down on transactions with cryptocurrencies, with the mining industry to be hardest hit by the regulations.
Given that it is ramping up interests in Bitcoin mining, EN+ is reportedly lobbying for more cryptocurrency-friendly regulation in Russia according to Khardikov.