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En+ looks for cryptocurrency boost

Aluminium and hydropower producer En+(RU:ENPL) is getting in on the bitcoin bonanza, looking to encourage cryptocurrency miners into its own backyard.
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En+ is looking to make the most of the cryptocurrency boom

Staff reporter

The company is in talks with several funds interested in building "cryptocurrency mining farms" in close proximity to some of its hydropower plants in Siberia, Russia.

The mining of cryptocurrencies is currently mainly taking place in China due to the availability of cheap power, however En+ said the cold climate of the region around Irkutsk, Bratsk and Ust-Ilimsk, plus the availability of cheap electricity, meant it could compete with its Asian rival.

En+ is trying to entice the funds into building these operations close to five of its power plants. These plants, which are mainly producing hydropower, have capacity to generate over 1GW of power.

Aluminium producer Rusal, which the company has a controlling stake in, is the main user of the company's hydropower, yet EN+ realises it could use up excess capacity and diversify its customer base by aligning itself with crypto miners.

Natalya Porokhova from research group Analytical Credit Rating Agency, said the sale of 100MW of power could pocket En+ US$10-15 million a year.

And, En+ may not be the only renewable energy producer to consider this avenue.

Morgan Stanley analysts said just last month that bitcoin power demand in 2018, at 120-140 terawatt hours or 0.6% of world consumption, could be bigger than global electric vehicle power demand in 2025.

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