The second meeting of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’s (ERCOT) Large Flexible Load Task Force (LFLTF) facilitated an opportunity for ERCOT, ERCOT market participants (MPs), and bitcoin miners to get to know one another through educational presentations and dialogue. Over 250 participated in-person and virtually.

ERCOT began the event by providing a detailed overview of its interim interconnection process that it hopes to turn into a long-term and permanent process in the future. This interim process enables large loads like bitcoin mining operations to quickly (within 150 days) interconnect with the ERCOT grid while also maintaining grid reliability and meeting existing interconnection requirements. ERCOT anticipates that as much as 17GW of large flexible loads may seek to interconnect with the ERCOT grid by 2026. The bulk of these interconnection requests are expected to be made in north and west Texas.

ERCOT also provided an overview of the various load resources in the ERCOT market and explained the difference between controllable load resources, non-controllable load resources, and aggregate load resources. Bitcoin miners such as Lancium, provide ERCOT a controllable load resource that can respond to ERCOT demand and curtailment requests within 16 seconds. The LFLTF also discussed the need to better understand how bitcoin mining operations respond and behave within the ERCOT market and will examine how to gather this information.

ERCOT MPs AEP Texas, CenterPoint, the Lower Colorado River Authority, and Oncor, provided an overview of their respective process for interconnecting to their service areas and explained the timeline for beginning and completing the interconnection process.

The Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) also presented its assessment of why so many bitcoin miners seek to enter the ERCOT market and the potential of bitcoin mining to provide grid resiliency and economic opportunity. The TBC also helped ERCOT and MPs to understand the economics and business models of bitcoin miners and explained the utility of the Bitcoin Network’s reliance on proof of work consensus as a means of securing the value and history of the Bitcoin blockchain.

The next meeting of the LFLTF is anticipated to be held on or around May 24. However, various issues will need to be discussed at length prior to the next LFLTF meeting. The LFLTF will schedule meetings with key MPs to discuss specific issues such as interconnection, markets, and planning. These groups will then update the full LFLTF at the next meeting. Additionally, comments on the issues list may be submitted to ERCOT at largeloadinterconnection@ercot.com.

Husch Blackwell will continue to monitor the work of the LFLTF and provide updates to its clients. Please contact our team of energy and regulatory professionals if you have any questions.