US-based Talen Energy Corporation announced on 3 August that, as part of its strategic transformation to a renewable energy and digital infrastructure growth platform, it has entered into a joint venture (JV) with TeraWulf, a US-based bitcoin mining company, to develop up to 300MW of zero-carbon bitcoin mining capacity. The joint venture, Nautilus Cryptomine, will leverage the strengths of both Talen and TeraWulf as they collectively work to advance the convergence of clean energy sources and digital infrastructure assets, Talen said.
Phase I of the Nautilus Cryptomine facility is a 180MW bitcoin mining facility which will be built on Talen's digital infrastructure campus adjacent to its Susquehanna NPP in Pennsylvania. Nautilus Cryptomine will be powered via a direct interconnection to Susquehanna that will provide electricity. The Nautilus Cryptomine facility is located "behind the meter" directly connected to Susquehanna, which will provide Nautilus Cryptomine with one of the lowest electricity costs among publicly traded bitcoin mining peers in the USA.
The JV is expected to invest approximately $350-400 million in Phase I of the operation with an aggregate anticipated hash rate that will exceed 5 exahash per second. Given its 50% interest in Nautilus Cryptomine, affiliates of Talen anticipate investing approximately $175-200 million of cash contributions into the JV, including contingency and other variables. Talen anticipates funding its share from its current liquidity and from third party debt and equity sources. The commercial operation date for Phase I is expected in mid 2022.
"Our Nautilus Cryptomine JV is another tangible expression of Talen's transformation to a lower carbon and digital infrastructure future," said Alex Hernandez, Talen President. "Nautilus Cryptomine's mining facilities will create zero-carbon coins with the appropriate regulatory overlay, mined in the United States in a secure location. As the world's adoption of digital assets and the demand for clean power accelerates, we believe these zero-carbon coins with verifiable attributes and US provenance will be highly differentiated for those seeking to invest in digital coin production. We believe our Nautilus Cryptomine coins can provide a secure, compliant, zero-carbon digital store of value to be held by investors at the largest financial institutions in the world," Hernandez added.
"We are pleased to partner with Talen to continue to implement our model for large cryptocurrency mine development operations as we scale toward our target of 100% zero-carbon energy utilization," said Paul Prager, TeraWulf's CEO and chair of the board of directors. "The Nautilus Cryptomine joint venture is evidence of our team's decades of operational and engineering energy infrastructure expertise, which we believe is at the core of cryptocurrency mining. Combining our premier platform for sustainable bitcoin mining with Talen's attractive generation, real estate and infrastructure assets to power Nautilus Cryptomine exclusively with nuclear power creates a business that is both zero-carbon and offers attractive bitcoin mining economics. We look forward to growing and expanding the scope of Nautilus Cryptomine and believe that nuclear energy will be an important contributor as we work to accelerate the transition to a more resilient, stable and sustainable energy future."
The 2,494 MWe Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, commissioned in 1983, the is one of the largest NPPs in the USA. Its current owner, Talen Energy, was founded in 2015 after the competitive power generation business of PPL Corporation was spun off and combined with competitive generation businesses owned by private equity firm Riverstone Holdings. Talen operates more than 15,320 MWe of power generation across mostly coal and gas plants in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Montana.