“Oklo’s advanced fission powerhouses will provide clean, reliable and affordable baseload power for Compass’ Bitcoin mining machines, starting in the early 2020s,” per the release. “Oklo is committed to supplying at least 150 [megawatts] MW of clean power to Compass in the first phase of this partnership, helping drive sustainability of Bitcoin mining practices.”
The release also noted that Oklo’s powerhouses, which turn nuclear waste into “clean” energy, are scalable and that it could add additional capacity to increase Compass’ mining capacity in the future. And it’s possible such a project could incentivize the broader use of nuclear energy in the future as well.
“Cryptocurrency mining offers promising pathways to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies, and Oklo is positioned to respond to commercial demands by offering end-users the convenience of buying clean, reliable and cost-effective power they can rely on,” Jacob DeWitte, CEO of Oklo, said in the release.
The announcement comes at a time when bitcoin’s energy use, and its coal-powered basis in much of China specifically, has come under scrutiny from environmentally-concerned critics. Much of this criticism appears misinformed, with the Bitcoin network emitting less than 5% of the legacy financial sector’s carbon emissions by some estimates. But it seems to have motivated numerous projects to mine bitcoin using renewable energy sources, now including Compass.
A larger exodus by bitcoin miners from China in the face of regulatory scrutiny is likely to increase the proportion of clean energy bitcoin mining further. Compass Mining recently wrote about its own study of the growth of the bitcoin mining industry in the U.S. and Canada for Bitcoin Magazine.