A new bill in the Texas Senate aims to eliminate incentives for Bitcoin miners in the state. The bill, known as Senate Bill 1751, seeks to eliminate tax incentives and subsidies that are currently available to cryptocurrency miners. Additionally, it would remove miners from the state-run demand response program for electric power.
The demand response program rewards miners for giving power back to the grid when demand is high. It is argued that removing miners from the program will drive up the cost of these ancillary services, as miners are extremely responsive and price sensitive. As a result, limits on participation would likely reduce demand and result in fewer people offering low-cost services to the state.
The Texas Blockchain Council’s director of Business Development, Kristine Cranley, testified before the Senate and argued that the subsidies had resulted in thousands of jobs in the mining industry and should not be removed. She also highlighted the benefits of the mining industry, which has been helping Texas with its power needs. Cranley argued that the industry is uniquely capable of addressing the needs of the grid, as it can be turned on and off almost instantaneously. This trait helped the state get through the last winter storm, where miners redirected their power generation to homes in need.
However, State Senator Lois Kolkhorst believes the incentives and subsidies put in place to attract cryptocurrency miners to Texas are no longer necessary as large-scale growth in the sector is expected regardless. During the testimony, she stated that the bill is meant to “right-size” the industry, which no longer needs the assistance provided via these incentives. She emphasised that the bill is not a “punitive” one.
The bill was the subject of a public hearing on March 28 and is currently “left pending in committee.” It remains to be seen whether it will become law or not.