KEY POINTS

  • Kazakhstan recorded an 8% increase in electricity consumption
  • First Deputy Energy Minister Murat Zhurebekov blames crypto mining
  • Kazakhstan seeks aid from Russia, taps into "united network"

Kazakhstan is facing a shortage of electricity as cryptocurrency mining shoots up in the country thanks to Chinese miners who fled their homeland after Beijing outlawed the energy-guzzling activity in September. 

First Deputy Energy Minister Murat Zhurebekov said that an 8% increase in domestic electricity consumption was recorded this year, Eurasianet reported. It usually increases about 2% yearly.

The government's favorable stance on cryptocurrencies and cheap electricity rates brought Chinese miners into the nation. Zhurebekov added that the miners are now becoming an environmental concern as the mining rate rose from 1.4% to 18%. 

The former Soviet republic, already the 10th biggest carbon dioxide emitter in the world, has sought help from neighboring Russia to address the shortage. Kazakhstan tapped into the "united network" of power lines it shares with Russia, but that wasn't enough.

Russian state power company Inter RAO has offered to supply Kazakhstan electricity at higher rates than usual. If the country wants to rebuild and improve its supply, it would require at least five years and cost $1.5 billion. 

The mining hub has already taken action to tackle abnormal levels of electricity consumption. The government decided last month to ration power and suspend supply to consumers exceeding boundaries.

Bitcoin mining generated 30,700 tonnes of electronic waste in the 12 months to May, a study found Bitcoin mining generated 30,700 tonnes of electronic waste in the 12 months to May, a study found Photo: AFP / MARVIN RECINOS