In response to Lancium’s monopolizing practice of preventing competitors from entering the energy curtailment market in Texas, OBM, Inc. and Cholla Energy LLC jointly filed an Inter Partes Review (IPR) request of U.S. Patent No. 10,608,433 – the patent owned by Controllable Load Resource (CLR) supplier Lancium.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT) has established policies and programs to manage energy consumption and protect the grid from outages caused by excess demand. ERCOT created the Load Resource (LR) categorization as part of an innovative effort to provide rapidly deployable power back to the grid to promote balance. Bitcoin miners are prime candidates for this designation, helping manage energy consumption statewide, given their agility, scale, and limited end-user impact.
In addition to ERCOT policies, public utilities in Texas are beginning to require crypto miners to implement controls on their energy loads that Lancium products alone cannot fulfill. By limiting the introduction of innovative energy management and cost optimization software, crypto miners will be limited to compliance with ERCOT standards and will be unable to continuously improve their energy efficiency through measured load management and cost containment.
In theory, managing energy capacity of crypto mining should be an opportunity for technological innovation for energy management companies such as OBM and Cholla. OBM and Cholla Energy are taking critical legal action to open up the marketplace for other providers beyond Lancium.
Continuing to allow Lancium’s monopolizing patent does not uphold the spirit of innovation that today’s energy ecosystem—and Texas itself—was built on.
If Lancium’s monopolizing practices are upheld, it will set a dangerous precedent—and not just in Texas. Though CLRs are ERCOT-specific, ancillary services like them are currently being used in demand response programs across the US. Texas’ energy grid has experienced increased stress over the past two years, in part from the state’s growing cryptocurrency mining and high-density compute activities. Energy consumers across Texas will benefit from the innovation and products developed through marketplace competition.
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