- Iran has restricted bitcoin mining operations for the second time this year.
- Licensed miners are required to shut down until March.
- Excessive energy demand has led to less power sent to industrial consumers.
Iran has once again ordered bitcoin miners to shut down to ease power demand on the country’s energy grid during the winter months. Licensed miners are expected to receive the green light to resume operations in March 2022.
Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, director of the state-run Iran Grid Management Co. and a spokesman for Iran’s power industry, said the measures will be in place until March 6 in an attempt to reduce the risk of blackouts and ensure power stability to households across the country, according to a Bloomberg report.
Bitcoin miners will free up an estimated 209 megawatts of power by shutting down over the next few months. Other power rationing measures being leveraged by Iran’s government include turning off street lights in some areas and restricting energy usage in offices, the report said.
“Authorities are also cracking down on illegal mining carried out by both individuals at home and larger-scale industrial units,” per the report. “These unlicensed operators account for the largest share of crypto mining in the country, consuming more than 600 megawatts of electricity.”
The Iranian government took similar measures to cut down energy consumption in May. A temporary ban was put in place to curtail the power usage of bitcoin miners over the summer as authorized and unauthorized operations were estimated to consume about 2,300 MW of electricity. Miners were granted permission to come back online in October, as the ban was lifted and operations resumed.
“Iran’s daily gas demand in the household sector soared to an unprecedented 570 million cubic meters per day for the first time on record, while the country has ‘maxed out’ its natural gas production at 800 million cubic meters a day, according to a National Iranian Gas Co. statement last week,” the report said. “The excessive demand has forced a reduction in electricity supply to industrial units.”