Critics of Bitcoin mining cite its high energy consumption, but renewable energy like wind farms and hydroelectric dams is making a difference.
There are a number of criticisms that are often levied against Bitcoin mining. One is that the average person can’t make a profit off it as big corporations have taken over. The biggest ding against the industry is its energy consumption. Hysterical headlines on how cryptocurrency mining is pushing the planet to an apocalyptic doom are not unheard of. However, a couple of new ventures are showing that renewable energy is changing the game.
A lot of Bitcoin mining operations originally were based in China. This was due to the low cost of energy, but the crackdown by authorities have pushed many miners to look for greener pastures. One popular destination is Iceland, which gains practically all of its energy needs through renewable sources.
Mining operators are looking for places that offer renewable energy as the power cost is often a good deal lower. One Bitcoin mining company, DPW Holdings, is going a step further and ensuring their own supply of clean energy.
The company is opening a mining facility in Valatie Falls, New York. Instead of tapping into the local power grid, DPW Holdings actually bought the town’s historic hydroelectric dam and refurbished it. The company will use the power generated from the dam to power its Bitcoin mining operation.
The CEO and chairman of DPW Holdings, Milton “Todd” Ault, III, said:
Our successful repurposing of Valatie Falls dam to provide clean, low-cost, renewable power to Super Crypto’s future co-located mining farm is another important step in our strategy to create an economically viable, self-sustaining cryptocurrency mining business. This project provided a unique opportunity for DPW subsidiaries to collaborate and innovate to create a new model for cryptocurrency mining, for which electricity is by far the largest operational cost factor.
Another major renewable energy project is taking place in Morocco. A company, Soluna, is working with Altus AG, a German wind power developer, in creating a massive wind farm of 37,000 acres. They expect that the farm will generate 36 megawatts in the next two years and a staggering 900 megawatts in five years.
The energy produced by the wind farm will be used to supply a high-density computing center. This hub will feature the mining of Bitcoin as well as other profitable altcoins. Soluna plans on using the money raised from crypto mining to complete work on the wind farm. In addition, the company hopes to sell excess power to the country’s power grid.
It is laudable for mining operators to actively seek out renewable energy for their power needs. Of course, the main reason is that such energy has a lower cost, which means a higher profit.
However, Dr. Katrina Kelly-Pitou points out that concerns over the power consumption of crypto mining are overblown. She points out that the hardware used for mining becomes more energy efficient over time, thus lowering the amount of energy needed. She also points out that energy use is far less important than the associated carbon footprint. The fact that miners have left the coal-powered plants of China for more environmentally-friendly locales like Iceland greatly reduces the carbon footprint of mining.
Lastly, Dr. Katrina Kelly-Pitou notes that the energy use by mining operators is never taken into context. Cryptocurrency mining consumed 30 terawatts of power in 2017. Critics shout that this is more than a small country. However, other industries use far more. The banking industry alone used 100 terawatts of power in 2017, more than 3 times that of crypto miners.
What do you think about Bitcoin mining operations seeking out renewable energy sources? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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