Japan’s Largest Power Company, TEPCO to Mine Bitcoin With Excess Energy

Japan’s largest electric power company is about to start mining bitcoin.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Power Grid is partnering with TRIPLE-1, a local semiconductor designer and developer, to mine bitcoin with excess energy across the country, CoinDesk first reported. TEPCO is the country’s largest electric power company in total assets, per Statista data.

TEPCO is the utility behind the Fukushima nuclear reactor, which in 2011 was struck by an earthquake and huge tsunami that knocked out some of its cooling systems, allowing three reactors to melt down. The power company later admitted that it had failed to take stronger measures to prevent such disasters. TEPCO is still suffering from the accident, as compensation for victims is taking a toll on its profitability to this day. Now, its power transmission and distribution company, TEPCO Power Grid, is seeking ways to monetize surplus power with bitcoin mining through its wholly-owned subsidiary Agile Energy X.

TEPCO is joining major global energy companies in jumping on the bitcoin mining bandwagon. And a common denominator for most of them is a need to monetize excess power, something BTC mining does very well. ConocoPhillips is selling stranded gas to bitcoin miners in the Bakken, an oil-abundant region in the U.S. –– a similar strategy to what Exxon is doing. The oil giant reportedly has an agreement with Crusoe Energy Systems to redirect gas that would otherwise be wasted from an oil well pad to mobile bitcoin mines. TEPCO’s setup also goes along those lines.

According to a translated version of a Wednesday statement by the Japanese energy giant, Agile Energy X signed a memorandum of understanding with TRIPLE-1 on November 11 to build a constructive strategic partnership. Through the collaboration, Agile aims to deploy distributed data centers throughout Japan that repurposes surplus electricity from renewable energy with semiconductors from TRIPLE-1.

A pilot project has already been set up on the premises of TEPCO Power Grid’s office in the Tokyo metropolitan area, per the statement. “We have started experiments to confirm the system behavior and the impact on the power grid when equipment is operated with a large amount of power on the scale of 1,500 kW, and have confirmed that the equipment can operate normally.”

“TRIPLE-1’s state-of-the-art process technology will be used for the computational computers used in this project, and we will exclusively introduce semiconductors with extremely high power performance,” per the statement. “We believe that selecting and introducing energy-saving products that have a low environmental impact is an important initiative toward the realization of a carbon-neutral society.”