An expert in clean energy had raised her voice against the general public conception about the high energy consumption of Bitcoin.
The strategy manager at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy, Katrina Kelly has publicly stated the need for an other way to think of the energy consumption when it comes to Bitcoin mining and concentrate more on where had that energy being produced from and what is the process of its generation.
Her statement goes as follows:
“By talking specifically about … the consumption of energy alone..many fail to understand one of the most basic benefits of renewable energy systems. Electricity production can increase while still maintaining a minimal impact on the environment….Not all types of energy generation are equal in their impact on the environment, nor does the world uniformly rely on the same types of generation across states and markets.”
A research paper done not long ago is suggesting that mining could be accountable for up to 0.5 percent of global energy usage by the end of 2018. On the other hand Katrina points out that the source of the energy and not the amount is what is really important in this case.
As for a some time now the biggest crypto mining superpower China, with its cheap electricity that is coming mostly from fossil fuels that is highly problematic issue says Katrina in a sense that the country has already reached a catastrophically high levels of carbon emissions.
Another very popular Bitcoin mining country is Iceland which is in a totally different place when it comes to the energy sources that miners use. This cold country relies on a close to 100 percent of renewable geothermal and hydropower energy sources. Katrina’s view on this country is that bitcoin miner’s power demands can be considered as “nearly irrelevant” when it comes to the impact on the health of the environment.
The far North of the U.S. in Alaska that has almost an “infinite” amount of low carbon energy supplies is another good example of a great cryptocurrency mining spot says Katrina.
Although these dark scenarios that Katrina talks about in her report article are the main theme, she does not forget to bring up the story from the other side in which is compared that if the estimated Bitcoin mining electrical power has been as much as 30 terawatt hours in 2017, in comparison with the banking sector that is using an estimated amount of 100 terawatt hours every year, “Even if Bitcoin technology were to mature by more than 100 times its current market size, it would still equal only 2 percent of all energy consumption.”
On this matter the Information Security Engineer at Google, Marc Bevand has said:
“Because miners are so sensitive to electricity prices, they are often a driver pushing utilities to further develop renewables which are now the cheapest source of energy…If the energy use of cryptocurrency miners continue[s] to increase, it will help decrease the costs of renewables for society at large (increased demand → increased R&D → increased capacity & higher efficiency → lower costs through economies of scale).”