Bitcoin (BTC) is perhaps the very last thing to contemplate when fascinated about the way to secure a clean energy future. This is particularly the case after tweet Broadcast by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk in May, through which he said that Tesla would not settle for funds in BTC as a result of rising use of fossil fuels for mining.
However, rising consciousness of the excessive energy prices usually related to Bitcoin mining has not had a adverse influence on the crypto ecosystem – quite the opposite. Following Musk’s tweet, a number of crypto miners defined how Bitcoin could be mined utilizing renewable energy sources comparable to wind, photo voltaic and geothermal energy.
It also needs to be famous that using renewable energy for Bitcoin mining was already the case for a number of corporations lengthy earlier than Musk raised considerations on Twitter. For instance, Peter Wall, CEO of Argo Blockchain – a firm that focuses on large-scale cryptocurrency mining – instructed Cointelegraph that he wanted clean cryptocurrency mining from the beginning: and I felt uncomfortable about it. I mentioned, “That’s not right.”
Bitcoin mining helps promote clean energy and earnings
Since then, Wall has famous that Argo is dedicated to being “climate positive,” which implies that Argo’s operation will turn into carbon adverse reasonably than impartial. While this may occasionally appear to be a daunting activity, Wall said that Argo makes use of hydropower to mine Bitcoin at its mining operation in Quebec, Canada. In addition, Wall introduced that Argo is presently constructing a 200-megawatt cryptocurrency mining facility in Texas that can use wind energy from the Lone Star State’s grid.
Wall believes that renewable energy and bitcoin mining go hand in hand, noting that extra energy generated from renewable sources is wasted if it isn’t mined:
“Cryptocurrency mining removes energy consumption from long transmission lines and uses it directly at its source. It acts as a load that can run most of the time, and if other peak loads are needed in the cities, we can turn them off. “
While this shows that clean energy sources can be used to mine cryptocurrencies, Wall makes a more important point in terms of renewable energy and storage. According to a Square report titled “Bitcoin Is Key To A Abundant, Clean Energy Future,” solar and wind power have become the cheapest and most scalable renewable energy sources. It should also be noted that these sources will become more affordable over time. The report points out, however, that solar and wind projects are often built in rural areas that are flooded by sun and wind but do not consume end current (secondary loads). To solve these problems, increasing the capacity for transmitting and storing energy will again be crucial.
Not only can cryptocurrency mining act as a much-needed renewable energy load balancer, but the process can also ensure profitability for clean energy providers. John Kotek, Senior Vice President of Policy Development and Public Affairs at the Nuclear Energy Institute, told Cointelegraph that, for example, nuclear power is the ultimate electricity supplier for cryptocurrencies:
“Nuclear power can be a plentiful, 24/7, carbon-free energy source that allows miners to scale their operations in ways that other power generation sources cannot. This also makes nuclear power plants more flexible and profitable. “
Specifically, Kotek mentioned that the main advantage that kernel operators have in this case is to use the mining operations as a trustworthy customer and generate a steady stream of revenue for long-term investments in the continued existence of the facility. “It’s a win-win situation,” said Kotek.
This has certainly become clear as the concept of using nuclear power to mine cryptocurrencies is fast emerging. For example, the North American mining company Compass Mining announced in July that it had signed a 20-year contract with the nuclear fission startup Oklo. This partnership will provide Compass with 150 megawatts (MW) of energy once the mini-reactors are deployed in the coming years.
Recently, Talen Energy Corporation – one of the largest competitive power generation and infrastructure companies in North America – announced a joint venture with US bitcoin miner TeraWulf to develop carbon-free bitcoin mining capacities of up to 300 MW. Phase 1 of the project – called “Nautilus Cryptomine” – will include a 180 MW Bitcoin mining facility that will be built on Talen’s digital infrastructure campus next to the power plant. This means that the Nautilus Cryptomine base is “behind the meter” to provide miners with very low electricity costs.
Renewable Bitcoin is becoming more accessible
As the concept of clean cryptocurrency mining begins to evolve, it is also interesting to note that new developments are being implemented to ensure that the process becomes more accessible.
For example, Blockstream, a blockchain infrastructure company, recently launched a new service called “Blockstream Energy” that allows electrical energy producers in probably the most distant areas to promote extra electrical energy to prospects.
Adam Back, CEO of Blockstream, instructed Cointelegraph that Blockstream is leasing modular mining models, or MMUs, to energy producers, together with an energy buy settlement that requires the acquisition of rights to Blockstream when wanted. Back explains that the MMU is “a stand-alone data center with integrated ASICs, power distribution, network, cooling, monitoring and management”. According to Back, the MMU is designed for quick and scalable use in 1 MW modules:
“The objective of Blockstream Energy is to raised match the obtainable energy manufacturing with the energy demand. Energy producers can’t solely management the availability of the energy they generate, but in addition the demand aspect. This permits energy producers to work way more effectively and speed up renewable energy initiatives. “
Back further commented that Blockstream sees Bitcoin as a solution to climate change, noting that BTC mining allows energy producers to monetize their renewable energy assets without the need for subsidies.
While clean mining of cryptocurrencies seems to be an ongoing trend, the industry still has many ways to go before it has any real impact on the environment. According to Cambridge University’s 3rd Global Cryptocurrency Benchmark Study, 62% of global crypto miners rely on hydropower, while 38% use coal and 39% use a combination of energy, wind, sun, or geothermal energy. Last September, the report estimated that only 39% of Bitcoin’s energy consumption was carbon neutral.
And while advances are being made in carbon-neutral cryptocurrency mining, some challenges remain. For example, Yaron Ben Nun, founder and chief technology officer of Nostromo Energy – a company that focuses on cold storage systems – told Cointelegraph that while clean mining can certainly work with renewable energy, it will most likely not be an easy task.
Related: A Green Revolution In Cryptocurrency Mining? The industry answers the wake-up call
For example, Ben Nun mentioned that mining Bitcoin using solar power will likely require batteries to stabilize the electricity generated by the sun in order to store excess energy for nighttime use. In return, Ben Nun mentions that a lot of batteries are required. Second, he indicated that these mining facilities would need to be disconnected from the grid or installed directly onto the grid to support remote solar systems, which is rare in regions of the world.
In addition to these issues, Wall points out that the MMUs used by Blockstream Energy require a strong internet connection, which can be challenging in remote areas.
Despite the difficulties, Wall remains optimistic about eliminating CO2 emissions entirely. Back said Blockstream is seeing strong demand for its MMU product, adding, “This will enable energy turbines to give attention to what they do finest – producing electrical energy.”