An African company called Gridless provides cheap electricity to villages in Kenya by using excess energy generated by its small hydroelectric power stations to mine bitcoin, making electricity widely available in local communities at a subsidized rate.
Gridless is an African distributed, rural, hydro Bitcoin mining company that supports local energy development.
According to the tweet published by their official Twitter page, they have used mini-grid hydroelectric generators to significantly reduce electricity costs for local communities in Kenya by using the excess capacity for Bitcoin mining. Currently, their sites across Kenya generate less than 100kW of energy, and they are working towards generating 500kW soon, as stated by the company.
We’ve been working with mini-grid hydro generators in Kenya on how to use their excess capacity for Bitcoin mining, which also significantly reduces the cost of power to the local community.
Small <100kW sites now, working towards 500kW soon. pic.twitter.com/frhoHi9uR0
— Gridless (@GridlessCompute) October 5, 2022
In some African communities, electricity is expensive for most consumers to maintain constant connections. As a result, people in these areas cannot participate well in productive economic activities as electricity is very important to every sector of the country.
The lack of access to cheap and stable electricity is due to the fact that energy companies produce more power than what is needed by local communities, and these villages are expected to pay for this excess energy that they do not have the capacity to pay for. Therefore, most of the power generated is wasted.
Taking advantage of the fact that the Aberdares and many river valleys in the local communities in Kenya get plenty of rain, making them an excellent location for small hydropower projects. The company built mini-grids across Kenya, currently generating less than 100kW from which they mine bitcoin from the excess power generated; The money earned is used to subsidize electricity costs for local communities.
The Gridless model essentially shifts hashing power to Africa, which is woefully underrepresented in Bitcoin mining and encourages more decentralization. Erik Hersman stated that the gridless model “serves as a welcome decentralization of the overly centralized mega-site Bitcoin mining that goes on today. Not only does it move some hashing power to Africa, but it also further distributes hashing to smaller sites.”