A Bitcoin (BTC) mining project that taps into clean, stranded and excess hydro energy in Malawi has picked up steam. The company behind the project, Gridless, shared that there are now “1600 families connected to this remote hydro mini-grid in the mountains of southern Malawi.”
1600 families connected to this remote hydro minigrid in the mountains of southern Malawi. They have 50kW of stranded energy that we are testing out as a new Bitcoin mining site.
Videos for context.
Still working on venting, wiring, etc. pic.twitter.com/Sxf8ABGPWH
— Gridless (@GridlessCompute) January 21, 2023
The project exploits 50 Kilowatt (kW) of stranded energy to test out as a new Bitcoin mining site. Erik Hersman, CEO and co-founder of Gridless, told Cointelegraph that while it’s a brand new mining project, the “Impact was immediately felt.”
“The power developer had built these powerhouses a few years ago, but they weren’t able to expand to more families because they’re barely profitable and couldn’t afford to buy more meters to connect more families. So our deal allowed for them to immediately buy 200 more meters to connect more families.”
Bitcoin miners are flexible but energy-hungry clients. They are a plug in and play solution for sources of excess energy around the world. In Malawi, the miners run off environmentally-friendly hydropower.
In Hersman’s words:
“The environmental footprint is quite light as it is run off a river. And the Bitcoin mining didn’t change any of that.”
It’s Gridless’ second project in Sub-Saharan African to date. Late last year, a mining project in Kenya connected a remote community using excess hydropower.
The environment aside, the Bitcoin mine brings economic empowerment and job opportunities to Malawi. Hersman explained that electricity load shedding is common in Malawi, but the 1600 families using the hydropower source do not have any power issues:
“It’s always amazing to me to see how useful and valuable mini-grids are to the community. It [Bitcoin mining] immediately changes the education, healthcare, business, logistics, and wealth of the community where they go in.”
Obi Nwosu, CEO of Fedimint and a Board Adviser at Gridless also shed light on the story, explaining that the project in “Malawi is one more in a line of what I expect to be many examples over the coming years.”
“As usual, these are modest people…