As major brands and tech companies step out of their corporate bubble to celebrate Earth Day on 22 April, 2022, environmental sustainability has become one of the key topics. This same topic has become a hot debate in the global argument surrounding Bitcoin mining.
Green Bitcoin Mining
According to analysts, the bitcoin mining industry has begun to naturally gravitate towards cleaner and cheaper energy sources. A January report by the Bitcoin Mining Council suggests that by Q4 2021, the global Bitcoin mining industry ran on an estimated 58.5% renewable energy.
The preference for clean energy is due to a combination of environmental conscientiousness, political pressures, and an eye on the bottom line. It’s resulting in a sea change that could have ripple effects that extend well beyond Bitcoin (BTC) mining onto power grid systems around the world.
Debates around Environmental Sustainability
Bitcoin miners in Norway are cleaner than almost anywhere else on the planet thanks to the country’s access to hydropower and other renewables. In fact, 100% of Norway’s electricity is generated from renewable energy. Of Norway’s 157 Terawatt hours (TWh) of power produced per year, 88% is from hydroelectric, with wind and thermal force making up the remainder.
Miners use that renewable energy to produce about 1% of the total Bitcoin hashrate according to data from blockchain research firm CoinShares. Wind power depends on the weather and solar power depends on daylight, but rivers can flow all day every day — and in various locales water can be pumped uphill during off peak periods as a way to store excess energy to run generators when needed. Nakachi told Cointelegraph that:
“Cryptocurrency is Unsustainable by Design”
On the other hand, a Feb. study published in the Energy Research & Social Science journal concluded “cryptocurrency is unsustainable by design,” Nakachi believes there is a simple path for mining operations to develop both an economically and environmentally sustainable model.
As reported by Coin telegraph, another option being explored in Texas is the utilization of flexible data centers which can switch from the public grid to temporarily generating its own clean energy from dedicated energy generators to relieve stress on the grid during periods of high retail demand.