Photo: Tehran Times

The energy produced by three of Iran’s major power plants will be offered to bitcoin mining operations exclusively, the Islamic republic’s Thermal Power Plant Holding Company (TPPH) has announced, according to a Tehran Times report.

Iranian power plants enjoy various fuel-related government benefits and subsidies, which are in turn used to produce electricity. They were previously barred from mining cryptocurrencies, but a new ruling in July permitted power plants to engage in the business, providing they obtained government approval, licenses, and paid the mining tariffs, Decrypt reports.

The TPPH said it will soon offer a tender for the electricity output of three power plants for the purpose of bitcoin mining. 

“The necessary equipment has been installed in three power plants of Ramin, Neka, and Shahid Montazeri, and the auction documents will be uploaded on the SetadIran.ir website in the near future,” said TPPH chief Mohsen Tarztala.

Tarztalab said that the sale of electricity to bitcoin miners presented a new, stable way of generating profits in the electricity sector.

On Sunday, Iran enacted legislation that officially recognizes cryptocurrency mining as an industry. It’s an attempt to create jobs and attract foreign investment. He added the three power plants will only use their expansion turbines for the purpose of bitcoin mining, which uses natural gas to produce power and is a cheaper alternative to liquid fuels like gas oil. Such turbines are not connected to the national grid – which distributes power across the country for commercial purposes – and will be wholly used by the power plans to mine bitcoin instead, explained Tarztalab.

The July ruling is said to be a savior for the country’s electricity industry. Repeated price hikes and the obligation to supply electricity at stable prices to subscribers has created falling profits for Iranian power producers in the past, the report said.