Back in February, a hellish ice storm devastated Texas, and Ted Cruz briefly stopped sh*tposting long enough to hop on an airplane and flee to sunny Cancun while his dog, Snowflake, stayed at home, looking sad and staring out the window. He couldn’t possibly have provided a worse look, and now that the Lone Star State is staring down another winter (with extreme weather becoming a more frequent occurrence everywhere), people would like to know what Texas — which operates on ERCOT’s grid, separated from the rest of the U.S. – intends to do about the situation.
Well, Ted Cruz wants everyone to know that he’s on the case. After Gov. Greg Abbott inaccurately blamed wind turbines for the frigid blackout, Ted talks about wind power and more in an episode of his Verdict podcast-thing. He tweeted out a clip from this episode while posing this question: “What are my ideas for an alternative option for the power grid?” It’s… something, and it involves Bitcoin miners.
What are my ideas for an alternative option for the power grid?
I answer that question and more in an all-#Mailbag episode of #Verdict with @michaeljknowles. The full episode is now available on YouTube: https://t.co/otgMiZKrOp pic.twitter.com/83Tayanfbd
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 5, 2021
CNBC fills in some blanks (whew), and Ted’s point is a bit muddy in the above clip. Essentially, this has to do with Bitcoin consuming a lot of energy in the first place, and at an October event, Ted claimed that this doesn’t have to be the case. Rather, “The perspective I’m suggesting is very much the reverse, which is as a way to strengthen our energy infrastructure.” How so? By making a Bitcoin miners into buyer into the electricity market, which means that they’ll have a vested interest in powering off and saving electricity when a crisis looms during peak demand:
Crypto enthusiasts believe the fix to this problem is actually to add another electricity consumer into the mix — a buyer who will take as much power as they’re given, whatever the time of day, and are just as willing to power down with a few seconds’ notice. These flexible buyers are bitcoin miners.
“If you have a moment where you have a power shortage or a power crisis, whether it’s a freeze or some other natural disaster where power generation capacity goes down, that creates the capacity to instantaneously shift that energy to put it back on the grid,” Cruz said of the ability of bitcoin miners to shut down their operations within seconds.
Yet CNBC also talked to an advanced grid services expert, Ben Hertz-Shargel, who points out that, for sure, bitcoin miners are definitely “a strain on the grid, not a help” because they increase the overall load on a system that needs fixing (and needs to increase overall capacity, no matter what). The full CNBC article goes deep on the subject, and ERCOT appears to be keen to explore the Bitcoin mining proposal. It’s actually a very complicated and confusing subject, and when it comes to Ted’s involvement, one can’t help but wonder if he’s simply trying to make everyone forget about Cancun. Not gonna happen.