Powering Renewable Energy with BTC Mining
For Bitcoin miners and all consumers, energy sources with high-capacity output will become the “new normal” for electricity and fuel this year and next. Already, renewables account for 90% of the new global power capacity expansion.
This is good for the world, and it’s good for Bitcoin. Keep reading to learn why.
Bitcoin Energy Requirements
Bitcoin mining has gained popularity around the world as the cryptocurrency itself has skyrocketed in value. Countries like China, the U.S., and Russia are leading the way. Their role in cryptocurrency mining development has resulted in a spike in local consumption of electricity, too.
As it happens, this spike has come in the countries that are already under greater scrutiny for high rates of energy consumption.
Bitcoin’s proof-of-work blockchain requires energy-intensive hardware. Yet, it’s this validation of online transactions and coin ownership via those complex computer systems that simultaneously makes Bitcoin “tick,” meaning a change of process isn’t an option.
More and more computing power is needed as a growing number of miners process more complex equations to validate transactions, too. These equations automatically become more complex the fewer Bitcoin there are, which slows down mining with the increased circulation of coins.
Bitcoin mining equations have (and will continue to) become increasingly more complex until all available Bitcoin has been mined.
More than half the Bitcoin mining electricity consumption today takes place in China. At least China already has the infrastructure to support the hike in demand. Smaller emerging market countries, on the other hand, see Bitcoin mining as a potential threat because the grid could collapse with demand.
As Bitcoin mining becomes more competitive, cryptocurrency miners invest even more in high-grade computer systems like ASICs in order to mine more efficiently.
Their ready access to affordable electricity is what makes their businesses viable, however, and with the supply chain for most fuels interrupted during the pandemic, access to electricity has become more complicated.
Bitcoin Movers and Shakers Turn to Renewable Energy
A new governing body called the Bitcoin Mining Council has been formed to address the cryptocurrency’s practices and ensure that they meet certain sustainability requirements. Renewable energy and energy efficiency are both being addressed by the council.
Energy usage is rising as a result of cryptocurrency mining, and the cost of electricity is, too. In order for Bitcoin to survive, miners’ access to affordable energy needs to be addressed just as urgently as the industry’s surging energy consumption.
Other possibilities like access to “stranded energy” have become a focus of the council, too. Natural gas flaring mitigation, for example, has become a focal point of many mining technology firms.
Currently, Bitcoin mining is powered by electricity from the following energy sources:
Bitcoin Investors Agree on Renewables
It’s easy to see why Bitcoin has attracted the intention of the world’s foremost cryptocurrency investors. Climate campaigners, too, and energy experts have all laid eyes on Bitcoin.
Sometimes, they voice concerns.
More often, they voice concerns with an idea for a potential solution.
Bitcoin mining currently consumes around 110TW hours per year or half of one percent of global electricity consumption. This roughly equals the energy draw of a country like Sweden or Argentina.
Bitcoin mining has driven concerns for that reason, but it’s also exposed a need for greater infrastructure for affordable clean energy.
In fact, CoinShares’ Bitcoin Mining Report recently depicted exactly how cryptocurrency mining is driving investments in renewable energies. These investments will drive the Bitcoin market and they’ll also benefit the greater grid.
The solution to Bitcoin’s energy consumption is not restricting Bitcoin. The solution is in generating more electricity from renewable sources.
As it turns out, Bitcoin hasn’t only propelled renewable energy sources. It’s also made waves in the oil and gas industry (OAG) to mitigate harmful practices that OAG companies have been unable to work away from for generations.
The OAG Industry and Bitcoin
Nothing happens in a vacuum. While the pandemic came into focus, Bitcoin values began climbing and talks of renewable energy were already whirring away.
At the same time, there was also a growing shake-down of the OAG industry.
During oil production, natural gas is released from the reservoir together with oil. Much of this gas is burned away (or “flared”) at a loss instead of being stored and sent in for production.
Why? Because most OAG producers have no access to the infrastructure that can transport the natural gas to market.
Each year, roughly 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas is flared away. The practice releases 400 million tons of CO2-equivalent emissions. Methane, in particular, is a pollutant of concern because it becomes 80 times more harmful than CO2 over a 20-year period.
The practice of natural gas flaring has become a top concern for governments around the world. Today, we’re less than a decade away from the goal of Zero Routine Flaring, an initiative developed by the World Bank and the UN that was launched in 2015.
Gas flaring practices began more than 150 years ago and have picked up substantially in the last 20 years. This has largely been because of new drilling practices like “fracking,” which are more efficient in finding oil, meaning more natural gas is released, too.
Bitcoin mining, as it turns out, has come into the limelight at a perfect time for the OAG industry.
Bitcoin crypto mining box technology now enables OAG producers to process otherwise-flared gas into electricity on-site, which is then used by the mining box to power its sophisticated computers mining for Bitcoin.
Read up on how Bitcoin mining on flared gas works.
Renewable energy and better, cleaner utilization of existing stranded energy have both become an active part of the future of Bitcoin.
The future of Gas Crypto Mining
Gas crypto mining has a big future.
The global Bitcoin mining industry more than doubled its use of sustainable energy during the pandemic, including gas mining.
The Bitcoin industry has now become one of the most sustainable industries worldwide according to the Bitcoin Mining Council’s 2020 report.
The question is, what part will individual stakeholders play in the bigger picture?
The energy conversation now involves:
- Bitcoin miners
- Cryptocurrency investors
- OAG companies
- Hardware distributors
- International organizations
- Local electricity providers
The Bitcoin industry isn’t just “going green” with renewables, it’s also “going green” with all the dollars coming in. Those stakeholders who are already on the playing field have seen their investments pay off at unprecedented rates.
Bitcoin mining has aided the global transition to renewable and sustainable energy, too. Even the financial services company Square said that Bitcoin miners are “complementing clean energy production” and allowing local electric grids to deploy more sustainable electricity.
The conversation has shifted from economically-driven stakeholders to a more inclusive look at how governments and other organizations can get involved.
The same study by Square found that the energy demand profile of Bitcoin miners to be perfectly suited to help balance the power supply needs.
Instantaneous solutions like natural gas flaring mitigation, therefore, go hand-in-hand with the new investments in renewable energy infrastructures. Specifically, Bitcoin mining has accelerated the transition to renewable power systems for solar and wind by “easing deployment bottlenecks” with the cryptocurrency’s urgent energy demands.
The same could be true for even more renewable energy sources in the near future.
Bitcoin Mining Will Speed the Transition to Renewables
A decreasing number of crypto coins are being mined today from dirty coal. This concern came front-and-center to the international discussion recently when Tesla founder Elon Musk abruptly stopped accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment, months after making a huge investment in the cryptocurrency and touting its many benefits.
Musk’s original investment powered a rush of new miners, all of whom only had to rally together months later when Tesla stopped accepting Bitcoin payments.
Thought leaders in the industry then signed what was called the “Crypto Climate Accord (CAA)” just two days later. The agreement outlines the industry’s community to decarbonization.
The two principal objectives of the CAA are:
- Reach net-zero emissions from electricity consumption by 2030
- Reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040
The agreement has collected 40 signatories so far. 20 of the companies that have signed are the most prominent cryptocurrency companies in the world.
The agreement does continue to sound somewhat ambitious to some onlookers.
Specifically, does it make financial sense for miners?
As it turns out, with the right technology, it can.
Bitcoin Mining Container Technology
Mobile data centers like those installed by EZ Blockchain at oil wells to convert stranded gas into electricity are becoming more popular in the OAG industry.
Mobile data centers are portable, self-contained facilities the size of a shipping container that house highly sophisticated computers. They’re used as external server rooms for complex computer processes, such as Bitcoin mining.
The main benefits of mobile data centers include:
- They’re more energy-efficient than server rooms
- Their physical and environmental footprints are minimized
- They’re fast and simple to implement
- They’re easy to move
The existing benefits of installing mobile data centers at oil fields are multiplied by the added energy efficiency of the most unique mobile data center designs, too. The more sophisticated the data center, the better it will use what energy you feed it, thus minimalizing footprints even more.
These mobile data centers have become a foremost solution for OAG companies plus an added catalyst in the cryptocurrency industry’s move to renewable energy.
The landscape of energy consumption today is changing, and the Bitcoin industry is playing an increasing part.
Ready to learn more? Don’t take our word for it. See hard evidence of mobile data centers taking a role in sustainable energy in our case studies.