A new study by Coinshares has revealed that about 78 percent of Bitcoin miners use renewable energy when operating their mining businesses, while China has taken steps to prevent wastage of surplus electricity. Contrary to the mainstream media demonising Bitcoin mining operations as environmentally degrading, the UK-based digital asset management company argues that nost mining operations buy electricity as a “last resort”.
China has taken some major leaps in terms of generating clean energy, with the government pouring billions of dollars into solar, wind and hydroelectric power. With almost 60% of the world’s bitcoin mining operation happening in China itself, the clean power move has resulted in an excess of that energy being used, the report noted.
Situations are similar in the Pacific Northwest, with renewable energy dominating mining operations all across British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Scandinavia, whose mines generate almost 35% of the global Bitcoin share is also seeing an uspurge in the use of renewable energy.
China’s large-scale investments have caused stress on the electricity grids, resulting in grid operators to refuse to accept surplus renewable energy capacity, in a move termed as ‘curtailing’. According to the report, most of the Chinese miners are using this curtailed electricity instead of letting it go to waste.
The report noted that large sections of these mining operations were using renewables. For example, China’s Sichuan province which is home to a big chunk of the country’s mining operation is using almost 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
Researchers from the University of Hawaii looked at how Bitcoin mining contributed to the world’s carbon emissions as compared to other conventional forms of technology that are used in our daily lives. But it turned out to be a difficult task to quantify its carbon footprint due to its computationally demanding process and the use of multiple, expensive pieces of technology.
The report reveals that 77.6 per cent of the world’s cruptocurrency miners use renewable sources of energy such as hydropower, making it “greener than almost every other large-scale industry in the world.” The researchers also noted that miners were environmentally conscious themselves, with cooler mining regions of Northern China saving up electricity on cooling systems for the mining hardware.
The report concluded by stating that although the miners were self-serving in that they simply looked for the most cost-effective sources of energy to mine cryptocurrency, they inadvertently also made the majority of the industry more environment-friendly than most other industries.
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