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On The Brink with Castle Island

Feb 22, 2021

Core Weave chief strategy officer and former energy trader Brannin McBee joins the show to talk about the grid meltdown in Texas and the impact of renewables on the grid. In this episode: 

  • Brannin's history in energy trading and energy analytics
  • How his firm survived a 95% collapse in the price of natural gas – and how that presaged his work in the crypto space
  • How Brannin's firm Core Weave alternates between mining ETH and monetizing GPUs through high-performance compute
  • How wholesale power trading works – and how it provides valuable informational signals to the grid
  • How the US grid is arranged – and how the energy mix has changed in the last decade
  • How coal has been marginalized in the last decade through natural gas and renewables
  • Why energy is not globally fungible
  • Why forecasting wind is so difficult – and how that complicates including wind into the grid
  • How renewables trade off reliability against carbon impact
  • How increasing the share of wind and solar destabilizing the grid
  • Why increasing units of wind requires new units of gas on the grid
  • The confluence of causes behind the Texas grid failure last week
  • How Core Weave selected their location on the grid – and how they took political risk into account
  • How much energy Bitcoin consumes – and where that stands relative to the energy consumption of the US
  • How flaring natural gas to mine Bitcoin works – and whether it's economical
  • Does Bitcoin work as a load balancer for grids?
  • Can you compare Bitcoin's footprint to that of entire countries?