Home News Crypto Is Straining the Power Grid. Congress Wants to Rein It In

Crypto Is Straining the Power Grid. Congress Wants to Rein It In


All companies included in the survey were asked to explain “the impact of your facility on the energy costs of local households and businesses,” but none could describe any existing models that estimate or track those impacts. That’s because they don’t expect to have a significant impact on the cost of consumers’ energy bills, people involved in the issue said. A company called Bit Digital said it was counterintuitive to study its own impact on local households and businesses because it was deliberately located in rural areas with excess electricity supply and limited demand — taking up unused empty space on the grid, Do not compete for power with consumers.

Samir V. Tabar, chief strategy officer at Bit Digital, criticized the letter from Warren et al. The “silent” data provided shows how the cryptocurrency mining company is creating jobs “with unneeded power infrastructure in a dilapidated economy.” Bit Digital is “excited to help shape the industry by being a leader in the use of sustainable energy,” Tabal said, and the company “hopes that the Senators will see our efforts in this regard.”

With the data so understated, it remains difficult to predict how local residents and businesses will be affected by the expected growth of these companies. Some companies say that as crypto mining companies pledge to switch to renewable energy, things could change so quickly that any existing data cannot be reliably used to predict how U.S. citizens will be affected. At least one firm, Stronghold Digital Mining, claims that “the multitude of factors that affect residential electricity costs,” such as “gas prices, temperature fluctuations and other factors,” make it “hard to attribute any changes in local electricity costs” to Cryptocurrency mining. (The stronghold did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

MPs believe that asking for a report is the answer. They are particularly concerned about residents and businesses in states like Texas, where “relatively cheap electricity costs” are attracting “a massive influx of crypto mining companies,” which could “increase stress on the state’s grid.”

The future of cryptocurrencies in the US

Warren et al. Says that since 2019, global electricity consumption for bitcoin mining alone has “almost quadrupled” — essentially erasing “the total reduction in greenhouse gas emissions attributable to electric vehicles.”

In their response, crypto mining companies countered environmental complaints by stating that their goal is to spend as little as possible on electricity, and as such, the largest companies are very motivated to switch to renewable energy. The company claims that if the U.S. supports the expansion of crypto mining, rather than restricting or banning it, as China and India have done, it could help the U.S. meet its renewable energy goals.

The company also said it helps stabilize energy supplies and reduce costs for consumers thanks to agreements between power companies and crypto mining companies to shut down miners’ power when grid energy demand surges. Bit Digital even suggested that lawmakers consider rewarding miners for participating in these programs and encourage more cities to adopt crypto mining partnerships. Predictably, crypto miners’ appetite for growth and incentives seems limitless.

For most Democrats, energy security remains a top priority for the U.S., and helping officials understand how digital currencies work will remain an important part of the equation for the country’s energy use. By the end of the summer, members of Congress want the EPA and DOE to reveal how they plan to increase reporting on U.S. crypto mining. If the agency’s response is timely, the update should come before President Joe Biden’s request for a September report that will partially explain the impact on energy policy if the U.S. adopts a central bank digital currency in the coming years.

This story originally appeared in Ars Technica.

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