A new report from the Bitcoin Mining Council reveals that Bitcoin mining increased its sustainable energy mix by nearly 59 percent in the first quarter of 2022 while reducing overall electricity consumption by around 25 percent.
Renewable energy use growing
Researchers surveyed approximately 50% of the Bitcoin network’s hash power, representing 100.9 Exahashes per second (EH/s) as of March 31.
They found that 64.6% of all respondents use electricity that includes renewable sources, such as wind, solar and hydro. Based on this data, they estimated that Bitcoin mining’s use of renewables worldwide is now 58.4% of the total. This is an increase of 59% over the same period in 2021 to Q1 2022, making it one of the most sustainable industries globally.
According to the report, Bitcoin mining is responsible for 0.16% of worldwide energy consumption (247 out of 154,750 terawatt hours), and produces a mere 0.086% of global CO2 emissions. And of this amount, mining uses a higher percentage of renewable energy than the average of any country on earth.
Core Scientific co-founder and BMC member Darin Feinstein commented, “As sunlight is the best disinfectant, it is important for the world to get the real facts about the amount of energy used and carbon released by the Bitcoin Network.”
The report also notes that Bitcoin mining uses far less energy than most other economic activities, slightly more than computer games or Christmas holiday lighting.
Mining hardware getting more efficient
At the same time, In the first quarter of 2022, the hash rate of the Bitcoin network increased by 23% year-on-year, while energy usage decreased 25% in the same period.
According to Microstrategy CEO and BMC co-founder Michael Saylor, this increase was the result of “advances in semiconductor technology, the rapid expansion of North American mining, the China Exodus and the worldwide adoption of sustainable energy and modern bitcoin mining techniques.”
In fact, Bitcoin mining hardware efficiency, measured in joules per terahash (J/Th), has improved a whopping 5,814% over the past 8 years. The BMC concluded that efficiency would improve an additional 600% in the next eight years.
Examples of sustainable mining
Several new projects are leveraging Bitcoin mining to make renewable energy production more practical:
- In Mechanicsville, Pennsylvania, the country’s oldest continuously-operating hydroelectric plant is getting a new lease on life thanks to Bitcoin. Built in 1897, the antiquated machinery costs more to run than the 3 cents per kilowatt hour paid by the National Grid. But the plant can earn three times as much by simultaneously mining Bitcoin, making it profitable to keep the 4-megawatt facility online.
- At the Bitcoin 2022 Conference in Miami earlier this month, Blockstream CEO Adam Back announced plans for a solar-powered crypto mining project in West Texas, designed to demonstrate how crypto mining can finance renewable energy generation.
- The Fort Worth, Texas city government will receive three Bitmain Antminer S9 bitcoin mining machines from the Texas Blockchain Council, to set up a pilot project at City Hall. The city hopes to attract crypto investment while also earning revenue.
- An enterprising Canadian is one of many individual Bitcoin miners that use the heat produced by mining to keep their home warm in winter. He reported earning $450 per month while significantly reducing the use of his furnace and hot water heater.
- Additonally, outside of the Bitcoin community, the Wax blockchain has created "carbon offset NFTs" which can be "composted" (or redeemed) by holders, resulting in the planting of new tree saplings.
It should still be a priority of the Bitcoin community to continue to find innovative ways to reduce the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining, but this latest BMC report shows that Bitcoin mining represents a miniscule percentage of global energy use.
Bitcoin’s higher-than-average reliance on renewable energy makes it an insignificant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and may actually help reduce them by making renewable energy projects more feasible.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.