Power plants don't have an on/off switch
It is not possible to simply switch on a power plant. There is a specific start-up process that takes an extended period of time.
We are entering the winter months and peak demand for heat. Solar & wind are fine when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, but they provide no reserve storage capacity. Hydro does provide reserve storage capacity, but it is limited in how much it can produce on its own during dark windless nights. That means to handle the peak demand during those times we need additional power generation capabilities.
We cannot just flip a switch and turn on a natural gas or coal generation facility when the weather forecast calls for a calm & cloud day. It takes too long to start them up. Therefore the additional generation facilities need to be on-line and generating power at a minimum level so that they can surge when needed.
On sunny & windy days this excess capacity is not needed. Hydro can be throttled back, but they still need a minimum release to maintain river flows and to handle flood controls. Forget about nuclear, we have only added two power plants in the past 26 years in the U.S. That leaves us with natural gas/coal for reserve power generation capacity.
Let's not forget the peak is getting higher as electric vehicles become more common. People come home, turn on the heat, utilize hot water, turn on lights, and plug in their 240v vehicle charger. The generating supply needs to be able to meet this peak demand, and the peak is only getting higher.
So what do we do with this excess capacity during off-peak times? Should we channel it to ground and waste it? Or do we allow crypo-miners to utilize it?
On a sunny & windy day the 'green' energy will be flowing strong. Yet there are minimum required water releases from hydro and the natural gas/coal plants still need to generate power at a minimum level to stay on-line. What is wrong with the crypto-miners paying for this excess capacity that would otherwise be wasted?