The U.S. Department of Energy will begin investigating the power consumption of crypto mines, following long-standing concerns from environmentalists.
Crypto mining is the process of validating new transactions and generating new tokens. “Miners” receive new cryptocurrencies in exchange for using computing resources to find solutions to cryptographic problems. These problems become more complex over time, requiring more computing resources and cooling systems, which in turn requires more power. Last year, Rocky Mountain Research Institute estimated that mining Bitcoin alone consumes 127TWh of electricity. This exceeds the electricity consumption of Norway.
Research results published in 2022 Joule Bitcoin mining is estimated to be responsible for 0.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The huge power consumption associated with cryptocurrency mining has led to several interventions, including the Chinese government banning mining and ordering financial institutions to stop facilitating transactions in 2021. This has made the United States the global center of cryptocurrency mining. Canadian and US state authorities have introduced looser restrictions on cryptocurrency mining. For example, in 2022, New York became the first state to restrict cryptocurrency mining by fossil fuel plants with a two-year moratorium on new permits.
That same year, Democratic lawmakers demanded that the nation’s largest cryptocurrency mining companies disclose data on their electricity consumption, but they were unable to elicit a “complete and complete” answer from the companies. Lawmakers therefore sent a letter to the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency asking them to force companies to comply.
Currently, the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), which collects, analyzes and disseminates information on energy use, plans to track electricity consumption by these cryptocurrency mining operations.
It will launch an “interim survey” of selected Bitcoin miners and require them to provide details of their energy usage. The purpose of the survey is to determine, among other questions, what energy sources are used to power these operations.
“We will continue to analyze and write about the energy impact of crypto mining. [US]” EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis said in a press release. “We specifically focused on how the energy demands of crypto mining are evolving, identifying high-growth geographic regions and determining the power sources used to meet the demand for crypto mining. Quantify.”
talk to Reuters, Glenn McGrath, EIA representative, said: But until we can substantiate our efforts with better data, we have more questions than answers. ”
He added that the EIA has received requests from various sectors to collect data on the energy use of crypto mining.