An economic evaluation framework for cryptocurrency mining operation in microgrids
The introduction of cryptocurrencies as a new form of money has attracted a tremendous amount of attention in recent years. This new financial paradigm relies on miners to validate transactions by running their cryptocurrency mining devices (CMDs). Nowadays, the significant profitability of the mining business has tempted a large number of private players in the electrical industry to employ their renewable energy resources to mine digital currency. Here, microgrid (MG) owners may use their excessive generated power to mine digital money instead of exporting it to the main grid. This paper is devoted to investigate the influential potentials of this trending business on distribution networks operation and performance. Thus, a new energy management (EM) formulation is proposed to model the mining loads at the first step. Then, a Monte-Carlo simulation is introduced to obtain the annual profit of this mining business under the existing uncertainties. Afterward, appropriate financial indices are proposed to help the MG owner to choose the best type of CMDs, and their optimal number to be installed. Finally, this paper demonstrates how the current price profile of electricity will gradually tend the grid-interactive MG to initiate the mining business in many countries. The results show that the MG acts as a passive energy entity where the import of electricity to mine cryptocurrency is possible. In a nutshell, the higher the electricity price, the lower the mining installation and the more active MG to positively contribute to electricity generation.
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