Russia’s blockchain-oriented voting system set to be used in the upcoming national elections is yet to be fully efficient but will be implemented nonetheless.
According to the country’s Central Election Commission, this initiative’s user tests have been successful, although some improvements need to be made on voter identification.
First reported by Russian media, Kommersant, the newspaper, highlighted that Yaroslavskaya and Kurskaya parliamentary elections scheduled for September 13 would leverage this blockchain solution for remote voting. So far, around 15,000 people have registered to vote through this blockchain-based ecosystem, while at least 3,500 had participated in the project’s testing.
The Technical Underpinnings
This project was developed under Russia’s state back telco giant, Rostelecom, which will also host the blockchain nodes on its company servers. Built on the enterprise version of Waves blockchain, the e-voting system leverages some advanced solutions, including encrypted tech that is yet to be battle-tested. Dubbed ‘homomorphic encryption,’ this tech keeps the votes encrypted until voting is over when they can finally be decrypted.
While the value proposed is better than what was used in Moscow’s e-voting, homomorphic encryption poses a challenge when it comes to voter identification. MixBytes Co-founder and Cybersec expert, Sergey Prilutsky, told Coindesk that authorities could meddle with the votes if they are in control of the list. In addition to this, the embedded encryption in homomorphic ‘elliptic curves’ is not considered secure by Russia’s counter-intelligence agency, FSB.
“It uses elliptic curves that are not considered secure by the FSB,” said the Chief Product Officer of Waves, Artem Kalikhov.
He, however, went on to assure stakeholders that the firm is working on this and noted progress with other functions such as e-signatures, which have already been certified by the FSB. Also, Kalikhov said that getting the ‘homomorphic encryption’ certification is unlikely to be a challenge that might stall development.
For months, interested financial minded individuals have been anticipating the upcoming 9-part documentary video series called “Wealth Breakthroughs”. This was supposedly put together with the goal of helping each individual establish a healthy relationship with money. In order to achieve this, the world’s leading experts have been invited to share their experiences.
Fortunately, more information regarding the Wealth Breakthroughs event has officially been provided, so let’s get right into business as we even hear rumblings of many of the experts willing to share their hot takes on bitcoin, blockchain technology and cryptoassets future in the world’s economy.
What is Wealth Breakthroughs?
Wealth Breakthroughs is a 9-part video series that helps consumers wrap their heads around a fundamental question that remains unanswered: “why is it that the rich get richer and richer?” To get to the bottom of this, the creators of this event contacted and interviewed many of the world’s richest individuals. In doing so, they supposedly found out that wealth is not associated with where one comes from or the family they were born into, but simply, the knowledge one has surrounding money.
What is there to learn from Wealth Breakthroughs?
Through this educational event, one will come to learn of simple and life-changing steps that can contribute to growing wealth. In particular, individuals will better understand how to:
Attain financial freedom while living their life to the fullest
Have control over money
Make money in an easier manner
Get hold of little tips and moves that can help towards piling up money
That said, here’s the official Wealth Breakthroughs trailer teaser, followed by a complete breakdown on what each Wealth Breakthroughs episode entails:
Episode 1: Kevin Harrington, Kim Kiyosaki and Alexander Green
In the first episode, individuals will be introduced to the founder of Harrington Enterprises and the original shark from the show, Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington. He will share the steps he took to build his company from the ground up, a crucial skill that anyone can learn and how to take one’s business from $0 to $100 million.
Then comes the founder of Rich Woman and widely acclaimed speaker, author, investor, host and entrepreneur, Kim Kiyosaki who will explain essential steps to buying a rental property, how she grew to own over 6,500 rentals and this notion of making money while one sleeps.
To wrap up the first episode up, chief investment strategist of The Oxford Club, Alexander Green will go over the wealth secrets of an attendant at a Vermont gas station who left behind millions of dollars. In addition, he will disclose details about “the ultimate wealth blueprint” and how one can safely retire with as little as $190 per month.
Episode 2: Dean Graziosi, Nomi Prins and Tim Sykes
Following the first episode comes the expertise of entrepreneur and NTY best-selling author, Dean Graziosi, former Wall Street executive turned entrepreneur, speaker, author and journalist, Nomi Prins and penny stock trader, Tim Sykes.
Graziosi will cover the importance of having the “right mindset” and how this is a determining factor of achieving a wealth breakthrough. Furthermore, he will address generalized versus specialized knowledge and how the latter is superior. Finally, he will share with everyone the same advice that allowed his daughter to achieve financial freedom.
Prins on the other hand will focus strictly on the financial world. In fact, she is anticipated to reveal information that Wall Street doesn’t want the general public to learn, how to overcome market crashes and how the world is on the brink of a “prolonged global depression”.
To end this episode, Sykes allegedly plans to share his own experiences on turning $12,000 to over $4.8 million in a matter of two decades, one trade that is likely to make 50 times the initial investment and the best time of day to trade stocks.
Episode 3: Kenneth Polcari and Carl Allen
Senior market strategist of SlateStone Wealth, Kenneth Polcari plans to discuss the ideal types of assets worth investing in, how one of the greatest investors of the past century, Peter Lynch approaches investments and the importance of picking investments that are poised to grow wealth over the long run.
Then comes entrepreneur and investor, Carl Allen, who believes that rather than trying to build a business from scratch, it is best to get one that’s already successfully up and running. In addition, he will share his secrets to spotting multimillion-dollar businesses within one’s area and the crucial role employees play.
Episode 4 appears to compare and contrast losing and making money. Entrepreneur, investor, author and podcaster, James Altucher is anticipated to unveil the one side to making money that not many explicitly talk about: what he learned from losing millions of dollars. Most of all, he will share the steps he took to become a millionaire again.
Following Altucher comes NYT’s best-selling author and founder of Wealth Factory, Garrett Gunderson who plans to discuss matters on the “Rockefeller secret” and how it helped him build his own fortune. Other topics include where 1% of the world invest and why it is best to avoid retirement plans such as a 401(k) or the IRA.
Episode 5: George Gilder, Greg Guenthner and Ray Blanco
Episode 5 is THE episode for anyone interested in sole investments. It will feature the founder of Discovery Institute, investor and author, George Gilder, and Seven Figure Publishing’s chief trading expert and editor, Greg Guenthner, and Ray Blanco respectively.
Gilder is one of America’s celebrated futurists who predicted smartphones and streaming companies. In Wealth Breakthroughs, he will make the case as to why “the old internet is dead” and what will replace it, along with his take on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Guenthner will cover the basics of trading, why investors need to study momentum and a simple method that makes identifying profitable stocks achievable in a matter of minutes. Finally comes Blanco, who will unveil his secrets to investing into the future; whether it be technology or cannabis stocks.
Episode 6: Andy Tanner, Alan Knuckman and Tom Wheelwright
Author, investor, and entrepreneur, Andy Tanner is said to share blueprints and methods that he strongly stands by. These include his four steps to building the ultimate model portfolio that can bring massive payouts, and unraveling Warren Buffett’s wealth secret.
Market floor veteran, Alan Knuckman, who also will be focusing on investments, will cover everything there is to know about trading options, why now is the best time to invest and indicators that helped him spot winners. To complete this episode, best-selling author and CPA, Tom Wheelwright will dive into the ins and outs of lowering taxes.
Episode 7: Jim Rickards and Adam Barrata
When experts like Jim Rickards and Adam Barrata think of investments, they lean more towards minerals and this is the entirety of episode 7. Lawyer, speaker and precious metal expert, Jim Rickards wants to discuss details regarding a top-secret CIA project, the potential gold has as an investment, and why Japan has the worse economies in today’s society.
Speaking about a similar field is author and co-founder of Advantage Gold, Adam Barrata who will not only list best-performing assets but common trends among them as well. In addition, he plans to argue why the dollar is expected to drop.
Episode 8: Zach Scheidt, Rich Schefren and Verne Harnish
Episode 8 brings unique perspectives on generating income. For instance, St. Paul Research’s chief income expert, Zach Scheidt will share his viewpoints on higher education, why it is important to have several streams of income and stocks that are sure to generate guaranteed income.
Then comes the founder of Strategic Profits, Rich Schefren, who will discuss everything there is to know about starting a business; this includes assessing competition, the differences between $1 million and $100 million businesses and how shifting some aspects of a business onto the internet increases one’s odds of generating profits.
Finally, individuals will be introduced to the author of Scaling Up and the founder of Entrepreneurs Association, Verne Harnish, who will share his personal experiences garnered from Steve Jobs, along with steps to building a business and how hard work is overrated.
Episode 9: Michael Bernoff, Aaron Kennard, Jason Katzenback and Michael McClary
For a complete experience on financial freedom, episode 9 brings together founder of Humans Communications Institute, Michael Bernoff, passive income coach, Aaron Kennard, CEO and co-founder and CPO of Amazing.com, Jason Katzenback, and Michael McClary respectively.
Bernoff will focus on the notion of working hard and hardly working, the importance of personal development and self-help, and the #1 skill everyone should master to ensure wealth. As a passive income coach, Kennard will obviously discuss income generating potentials, and rental properties and income.
Duo, Katzenback, and McClary, like select individuals making an appearance in Wealth Breakthroughs, see no reason to work hard. In fact, they associate growing wealth with working smart. As a result, the duo will address selling products on Amazon and how to actually create a product worth selling.
Which speakers have been invited to take at Wealth Breakthroughs?
Adam Barrata, Author and Co-Founder of Advantage Gold
Alan Akina, CEO, and Co-Founder of 101 Financial
Alan Knuckman, Market Floor Veteran
Alexander Green, Chief Investment Strategist at The Oxford Club
Andy Snyder, Founder of Manward Press
Andy Tanner, Author, Investor and Entrepreneur
Ann Wilson, Founder of The Wealth Chef
Brian Page, Founder of BNB Formula
Carl Allen, Entrepreneur and Investor
Dave Blanchard, CEO of the Og Mandino Leadership Institute
Dean Graziosi, Entrepreneur and NYT Best-Selling Author
Erik Van Horn, Founder of Franchise Secrets
Garrett Gunderson, NYT Best-Selling Author and founder of Wealth Factory
George Gilder, Founder of Discovery Institute, Investor and Author
Greg Guenthner, Chief Trading Expert at Seven Figure Publishing
James Altucher, Entrepreneur, Investor, Author and Podcaster
James Rickards, Lawyer, Speaker and Precious Metal Experts
Jason Katzenback, CEO and Co-Founder of Amazing.com
Michael McClary, CPO of Amazing.com
Jeff Walker, Founder, and CEO of Internet Alchemy Inc.
John Briggs, Founder of Incite Tax
Kenneth Polcari, Senior Market Strategist at SlateStone Wealth
Kevin Harrington, Founder of Harrington Enterprises and Original Shark from Shark Tank
Kim Kiyosaki, Founder of Rich Woman
Krisstina Wise, Founder of Wealthy Wellthy
Marc Lichtenfeld, Chief Income Strategist at The Oxford Club
Marco Santarelli, Founder, and CEO of Norada Real Estate Investments and Podcaster
Matthew Carr, Chief Trends Strategist at The Oxford Club
Michael Bernoff, Founder of Humans Communications Institute
Nomi Prins, Entrepreneur, Keynote Speaker, Author, and Journalist
Ray Blanco, Editor at Seven Figure Publishing
Richard Schefren, Founder of Strategic Profits
Rick Sapio, Entrepreneur and CEO of a Financial Holding Company
Scott Stewart, Investor
Tim Sykes, Penny Stock Trader
Tom Wheelwright, Best-Selling Author, and CPA
Verne Harnish, Author of Scaling Up and Founder of Entrepreneurs Association
Vishen Lakhiani, Founder of MindValley
Zach Scheidt, Chief Income Expert at St. Paul Research
How to get started?
To onboard this train of experts, individuals can sign up here by entering an appropriate email and first name. Once this has been completed, immediate access to a blueprint that showcases a brief overview of the speakers will be sent.
When will Wealth Breakthrough take place?
Wealth Breakthrough has been scheduled to take place starting Tuesday, June 30th at:
8 pm EDT
6 pm MDT
5 pm PDT
7 pm CDT
Final Thoughts on Watching Wealth Breakthroughs
Wealth Breakthroughs is finally here, and the pool of knowledge seen above is incredibly diverse. Based on the episodes breakdown, individuals are likely to realize that 1) there are many routes to making money, 2) working hard isn’t as effective as working smart, 3) relying on one income stream is less like to grow one’s wealth, and 4) anyone can grow wealth with the right mindset.
And one of the biggest reasons why there is so much excitement brewing about the release and ability to watch episode 1 of the Wealth Breakthroughs documentary series by Revealed Films is the global macro perspective that will be shared on bitcoin and blockchain-based cryptoassets.
Above all, consumers should not worry about falling down because what counts the most is getting back to one’s feet. Ultimately, this is one event that is likely to motivate, enlighten, and potentially change one’s viewpoints on money so that financial freedom can be attained.
Binance is supporting the upcoming Ontology 2.0 network upgrade planned for Tuesday of this week.
The top crypto exchange stopped the deposits and withdrawals of ONT tokens on Monday, 9 AM GMT.
The ONT trading competition also came to a close with over $50,000 worth of ONT distributed.
In a press release on July 6, the Binance media team announced its support for the upcoming Ontology (ONT) major network upgrade slated for July 7, 2020. As such, deposits and withdrawals of ONT tokens on the exchange has been disabled from 9 AM GMT till the network upgrade is complete. The official statement reads:
“Binance will support the upcoming Ontology network upgrade. Deposits and withdrawals of ONT will be suspended starting from 2020/07/06 9:00 AM (UTC). Please note that the trading of ONT will not be affected during the upgrade.”
Ontology 2.0 upgrade will integrate new governance and staking protocol updates and further “lower the requirements for users to participate in Ontology governance.” The upgrade is expected to encourage several of its users to participate in staking and governance on the Ontology blockchain.
Users are not obligated to do anything during the upgrade with Binance handling the technical updates needed. Moreover, staking proceeds on the Ontology network, ONG rewards, will be active during the Ontology 2.0 network upgrade.
The Ontology network employs a dual system token using its native token – ONT – and Ontology Gas (ONG). ONT is a coin that can be used for staking in consensus, whereas ONG is a utility token used for on-chain services. ONT releases ONG periodically.
Binance also announced the completion of the ONT trading activity competition with over $50,000 worth of ONT rewards successfully deposited to winners accounts. Winners are alerted through email, and the records can be checked on the distribution page.
Developments on Ontology
Ontology’s partnership with Binance is stronger than ever with the exchange recently listing an ONT-backed token, ONT-33D, on Binance Chain. The token, which started trading on Binance’s decentralized exchange platform in April, is backed on a 1:1 ratio to ONT.
Ontology also announced a partnership with a decentralized oracle platform, Chainlink, at the end of June in a bid to boost the overall DApp development on the blockchain using data oracles from the former.
According to the Chamber of Digital Commerce, China has filed 84 patents for the digital yuan, its new upcoming digital currency.
The patents date to 2017 and are credited to the People’s Bank of China’s (PBoC) Digital Currency Institute. They were filed to the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO) and indicate some important aspects like the one where the Chinese government is able to alter the currencies supply after some specific events like interest rates going up, or the one of integration with traditional bank accounts while the connection with digital currency chips cars or digital wallets is still possible.
The Chinese Government Will Track Down Transactions
The patent applications are related to the integration of the digital currency in the already existing banking infrastructure. This is what Mark Kaufman, the patent attorneys for Rimon Law and a former employee of the Chamber of Digital Commerce said about them:
“Virtually all of these patent applications relate to integrating a system of digital currency into the existing banking infrastructure.”
In November 2019, Mu Changchun, the head of PBoC’s Digital Currency Institute, spoke at a Singapore conference and said:
“We are not seeking full control of the information of the general public.”
The newly filed patents come only to prove that the Chinese government is committed to issue a digital currency, which may convince other governments to take action in the same direction. For example, the Japanese government recently talked about China’s digital yuan and Facebook’s Libra, saying these should be combated with a digital currency released by Japan. Norihiro Nakayama, the foreign affairs parliamentary vice-president of Japan said,
“China is moving toward issuing digital yuan, so we’d like to propose measures to counter such attempts.”
Will the US Release Its Own Digital Currency?
There have been signs that the US may be considering issuing its own digital currency too, as Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Chairman, said on Tuesday that this matter needs to have an answer and that:
The problems that Facebook has related to its upcoming Libra stablecoin simply do not stop. Finco Services of Delaware has filed a lawsuit against the popular social media company and it’s subsidiary Calibra in New York, related to the logo of the Libra project.
According to the reports, Facebook is being sued for reusing a design that already belonged to another party. Finco Services affirms that Facebook infringed trademark rules, and has engaged in unfair competition and used the logo illegally.
Basically, in 2016 a company called Character SF was hired by Finco Services to design a logo for a brand. The logo that was designed was basically the same one that is being used by Libra right now.
While it is unclear why Facebook is using the same logo as the company, Finco affirms that it’s logo is registered with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office and that it can prove that it had the logo way before Facebook ever thought about creating it’s crypto asset.
As soon as the people at Finco discovered that the logo was nearly identical, they contacted Calibra, which simply ignored them. Now, they are trying to convince the court that their logo was copied.
The case could go either way as the two logos are very similar, but not necessarily identical. Because of this, it is still way too early to speculate on which company is going to win in court. The only certainty is that Facebook is having a lot of problems recently.
The launch of Instanbul’s testnet, known as the upcoming hard fork created by the Ethereum blockchain, is set for October. According to Hudson Jameson, the community manager at the Ethereum Foundation, the block that was picked for the launch will be mined around October 2.
However, he noted that it would not be surprising if the team was one day behind or ahead of the official schedule when the actual launch happens. Originally, the launch would happen on September 4, but it had to be pushed forward around a month because several changes still had to be audited.
A total fo 30 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) were considered for the launch, but only six of them were approved. Eight other EIPs will be implemented in Berlin, the hard fork that will happen next year.
According to the Ethereum Foundation, the delay in the testnet will also affect the launch of Instanbul’s mainnet, which will be released only in November now. No block height was specified, though, as the developers don’t want to commit to a date, only to have to change it later, like they recently did with the testnet.
At the moment, the only problem in the way of the release are the audits. Developers are meeting with security firms in order to test the codes to make sure that no problems will happen after the launch and there are no exploits available for people with ill intent.
The most important change will only happen in the next hard fork, though. The ProgPoW update, which will block ASIC miners from operating in the network, is still being audited to be launched during the Berlin update.
Crypto worshippers are looking forward for the upcoming Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. The festival has turned out to be a vital ground for various crypto related activities. After all, the Burning Man festival and crypto ethos have something in common, they operate on openness and seek to explore new governance models that has fewer rules.
According to CoinDesk, these days it is easy to sport crypto enthusiasts sticking together in different packs with well formed group camps such as Camp Decentral, CampDAO or Node Republic, which provide various blockchain seminars and talks as a composite of the festival’s offerings.
Speaking to CoinDesk, crypto investor Jeremy Gardner revealed that he has so far attended four Burning Man festivals where he has offered talks on blockchain technology at different camps.
According to Gardner, the Burning Man festival is a common ground to talk about various concepts shaping the society. The crypto entrepreneur says that he has developed deeper relations with individuals in the crypto space as the festival has turned out to be a superb bonding experience.
Gardner says that the crypto market slows down during the festival as crypto-based enterprises hold on major announcement waiting until the crypto enthusiasts attending the festival return home.
Bear Kittay who has worked as the festival organizer for years says that the Burning Man is mostly dominated by individuals working in the tech industry and, as such, has become a major meeting ground for crypto enthusiasts. Kittay is himself a holder of bitcoin and ethereum, plus an investor in the EOS startup Block.One.
The author of From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond John Clippinger says that there are different similarities between the festival and the decentralization movement. He opines that the idea of converging different blockchain and crypto enthusiasts in the festival lies on the self-organizing and autonomous groups which is the exact goal of crypto worshippers.
It is expected that this year’s festival will not be different from the previous ones as crypto enthusiasts converge to share ideas.
Samsung has officially announced its integration of Bitcoin into its upcoming and series of blockchain-enabled smartphones. This news comes in the wake of the company’s partnerships with a range of blockchain-enabled or specialist companies like Enjin.
This move also comes in the months after the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S10 series back in mid-March 2019. Along with this broader announcement, the team also introduced its community to its bespoke ‘Blockchain Keystore’ which offers its users broader access to cryptocurrency storage and payment solution for Ethereum and related ERC-20 Tokens.
Even though this includes a wide range of dApps that leverage Ethereum, Samsung actually had an unspoken exclusion of the number one cryptocurrency in terms of market cap.
The company that is otherwise known as one of the tech giants operating within South Korea has since announced that it will be including Bitcoin related features to its developer kit (SDK) for a wider array of S10 models (S10e, S10, S10+ as well as the S10 5G) including its Note10 and Note10+ models.
The Samsung-based SDK solution actually allows those on Android Devices to link their dedicated blockchain addresses to Samsung’s blockchain Keystore. From there, users will be able to sign cryptocurrency transaction as well as check their Keystore status.
Some of the blockchain features on these phones remain geographically exclusive to certain areas. For the moment, these consist of the following: Canada, Germany, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the U.S., and the U.K.
Some of the newest additions to the SDK also include support for other native cryptocurrencies such as Klay, from the Klaytn network, which was recently launched by the Korean-based messaging solution – Kakao.
During the latter part of last week, Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary, known as GroundX has since teased at the launch of its upcoming wallet for Klay referred to as Klip, and has also announced the introduction of its very first decentralized dApp partners.
Samsung now officially lists 17 dApps within its digital Keystore and is actually in the process of developing its own, which is based on top of Ethereum. It has been alluded to that it may be working to release its own token, according to reports from the firm.
KPGMs upcoming blockchain platform will make use of smart contract technology to streamline many complex monetary processes associated with the telecom industry.
It is expected that 5G network providers will be able to make use of the above stated digital solution to make their internal processes hassle free.
According to an all new press release issued by the folks over at KPGM, the business advisory firm has entered into an agreement with a number of major tech companies such as Microsoft, Tomia and R3 in order to devise a blockchain-based settlements solution for the global telecom industry.
As per the above linked report, the envisioned blockchain platform will make use of smart contracts so as to help reduce the number of disputes that normally take place between carriers and mobile operators on a near day-to-day basis. Not only that, according to KPGMscore dev team, the new system will also make settlements faster and cheaper for network providers (by completely eliminating the need of any middlemen.)
At press time, most cross-border and cross-carrier settlements are processed using complicated mathematical algorithms that are not only complicated to administer but also quite time consuming.
Data available online seems to suggest that carrier settlements can sometimes take weeks to resolve.
The cost of outsourcing settlements can often lead to customers incurring additional processing charges. In this regard, it should be pointed out that by the end of 2022, experts believe that the peripheral fees associated with international mobile data roaming charges will scale up to a whopping $31 billion.
It is also being said that with the advent of 5G, carrier settlement processes will become even more complex than they are right now.
[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.
A South-colorado based upcoming cryptocurrency data center estimated to be worth $100 million has decided to add 50 megawatts of new load for its energy consumption. The news has not gone down well with the clean-energy advocates who believe the decision might hamper the state and local renewable goals further from the reach.
Critics belive the upcoming data center won’t be the first of the kind to benefit from the new state economic development law. They fear that the new state policy would attract several data center operators to the state which would surely have a great impact on the state’s electricity consumption. They believe the state government should focus on curbing such commercial energy use instead of providing incentives for the sake of economic development.
The upcoming data center will be based out in Pueblo and it would be supplied with the demanded 50 megawatts of energy by the Black Hills Energy cooperation. Critics fear that the promised lease of energy might lead to several issues if the Black Hills Energy cannot match the expected demand through its renewable resources.
Pueblo’s Energy Future group wants to form a municipal utility to reach the city’s 100% renewable goal belive that the upcoming data center might wipe out all the renewable gains made by the city in the past. One of the members of the Energy future group David Cockrell said,
“Fifty more megawatts of this largely coal-fired power will essentially wipe out the gains in the renewable generation they boast from their new Busch Ranch II wind farm”
The south-Colorado city of Pueblo is best known for its steel mills and does not boast of a booming economy. The city paints quite a contrasting picture to its neighboring cities like Colorado Springs which are doing much better in terms of the economy due to their knowledge-based state policies. Pueblo currently has high poverty rates and low housing prices. The Pueblo City Council in 2017 set a goal of achieving 100% renewable energy consumption by 2035. The move seemed quite novel and everyone got on-board to achieve it, where Pueblo County commissioners passed a resolution of their own.
Only a few months later after committing to achieving 100% renewable energy use, the then governor John Hickenlooper signed a new state law to test the commitment of the citizens towards that goal. The law allows regulated electric utilities to provide discounted rates to large scale businesses for 10 years. The law is being seen as a move to help stimulate further economic development in Colorado.
Black Hill Energy Becomes First Utility To Get Approval For Discounted Rates
Black Hill Energy which is based out in South-Dakota and serves Pueblo energy needs became the first utility to seek permission from the city council to avail its services at a discounted rate. The firm applied for the approval in January right after the law came into the effect and proposed to sell 50 megawatts of discounted energy to an unknown company. The utility firm assured the city council that the move will deliver $25 million to $40 million worth of community economic benefits in the first five years.
50 megawatts of energy is quite a substantial amount given it accounts for one-tenth of the Black Hill Energy’s peak load. Although the law does not require the utility provider to state the source of their energy procurement, but Black Hill Energy stated that it will buy the required amount from the wholesale energy markets.
There were months of debate over the identity and qualification of the firm to which Black Hill has decided to sell the discounted energy to, which was later revealed to be AX2 Data Center. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission voted 2-1 in favor of allowing Black Hill Energy to provide discounted energy to the said data center.
The critics were mostly irked because of the fact that the council did not impose any renewable requirements to the Black Hill mainly because they believed that the delay in approval might put the economic benefits at risk.
However, the Colorado state law requires Black Hill to manage 30% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020. The company is quite confident in meeting those requirements mainly due to the 60-megawatt Busch Ranch II wind farm which will be completed this fall.
Western Resource Advocates, an environmental advocacy group filled with the utility commission opposed the approval since there is a lack of assurance from the data center operators over the source of electricity. The group demanded the data center to directly tethered to renewable sources.
Gwen Farnsworth, one of the senior energy policy advisor for the environmental advocacy group wrote,
“In order to avoid backsliding from valuable gains on emissions reductions in the transition to clean energy resources, incremental load growth should be served by renewable generation.”
The dissenting commissioner Frances Koncilja shared similar concerns and said that the agreement completely ignores the renewable energy goals set by the commission. Koncilja went onto to accuse her colleagues of making political decisions than the regulatory ones.
A few others came out in support for the economic growth from the current controversial project and stated that the data center won’t be a threat to the city’s renewable goals as most of the electricity produced in the region comes from renewable resources. One of these supporters who are in favor of the current data center includes the current mayor of the city Nick Gradisar. He said,
“I do not think the company’s presence or its energy needs will dramatically impact our vision for renewable energy. I personally believe that the cheapest energy will be from renewables in the very near future.”
One of the officials for the upcoming data center stated that the project would be completed by the end of 2019 and it can be made partially operational by September.