One hydroelectric power plant in Costa Rica has been repurposed to power several cryptocurrency mining operations.
The facility is based on the Poas River around 35 kilometers from the capital, San Jose, and powers eight containers that fuel over 650 machines from 150 customers. After 30 years of operation, the plant recently pivoted to powering mining activities, after the government stopped buying electricity due to a surplus power supply during the pandemic.
The plant is one of three that the hydroelectric company owns, which are valued at $13.5 million and have a three Megawatt capacity. The family business, which also owns the 60-hectare farm Data Center CR, invested $500,000 to accommodate hosting digital mining computers.
“We had to pause activity for nine months, and exactly one year ago I heard about Bitcoin, blockchain, and digital mining,” said president Eduardo Kooper. “I was very skeptical at first, but we saw that this business consumes a lot of energy and we have a surplus.”
Kooper implied that Costa Rica would be an ideal place for international cryptocurrency mining, being abundant in both cheap, clean energy and internet connectivity. To this end, he believes the government should be doing more to incentivize more crypto mining businesses into coming to the Central American nation.
Crypto mining in Costa Rica
Perhaps Costa Rica is taking its cue from its regional neighbor El Salvador, which became the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender last September. While Costa Rica has no such drastic plans of its own yet, the central bank prioritized providing space for technological innovation, hoping to enable the development of a domestic Fintech industry.
While the government takes its time to reflect on how a larger strategy can draw in further participants, Data Center CR will continue to service local customers. For instance, one 31-year-old computer security engineer was able to nearly halve the cost of his operations by connecting his computer to the network at the river-powered plant, after he started earning extra money from home in 2021.
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