Wind Energy And Crypto Mining: The Need For A Sustainable Future
By late 2017, Bitcoin’s energy consumption began to gain notice.
With it’s yearly electricity consumption of roughly 91 terawatt-hours, Bitcoin mining alone was believed to raise global temperature by 2°C. These alarming statistics dubbed Bitcoin as a ‘dirty’ currency.
Unfortunately, Bitcoin’s energy consumption continued to double, raising alarm and causing censorship for many miners.
But why do Cryptocurrencies consume so much electricity?
Bitcoin and numerous other cryptocurrencies operate on the proof-of-work consensus mechanism.
This mechanism utilizes an energy-intensive process to validate transactions and mine new coins.
It is important to note that mining itself isn’t a threat to the environment. The danger lies in the kind of energy used to power the mining process.
Other than its electricity consumption, mining activities were purported to produce around 30.7 kilotons of e-waste annually.
With its double deadly effects on the environment, the need for sustainable cryptocurrencies was birthed.
The Green Movement
The need for a sustainable future triggered a cardinal shift in the Cryptocurrency industry.
Alternative consensus mechanisms like Proof-of-Stake, Proof-of-History, Proof-of-Elapsed-Time, etc have gained traction and the proof-of-work mechanism has not been used in five years.
Ethereum is also promising better energy efficiency with Ethereum 2.0.
In addition, the provision of favorable laws and incentives has triggered an increased yearly adoption of solar energy. Various Governments and individuals are bolstering the journey to sustainability by offering rewards.
With over 56% of Bitcoin’s mining activities now powered by renewable energy sources, cryptocurrencies are definitely en route to a greener future.
In the quest for green energy, and often neglected source is Wind Energy. Can it be used to mine bitcoins? Does wind energy help in making cryptocurrencies sustainable? Let’s find out.
Renewable Energy Sources
The sustainable future is powered by renewable sources of which five are majorly known. The five major sources of renewable energy are:
- Solar Energy
Touted as the fastest growing energy source, solar energy is now responsible for around 3% of the world’s electricity. This renewable energy source is produced by capturing the sun’s rays and subsequently converting them into electricity. The conversion from sunlight is done using photovoltaic(PV) panels or through mirrors that concentrate the solar radiation. Solar energy can be used to generate electricity or can be stored in batteries.
This is a method of sustainable energy production that utilizes the kinetic energy of fast or running water to produce electricity. It is one of the oldest and most adopted renewable sources, accounting for over 18% of global power generation. Hydropower is acknowledged for its availability, stability, and affordability.
- Geothermal Energy
Although not widely used, Geothermal energy is a rapidly-evolving energy source. Here, energy is generated from the heat formed in the Earth’s core during original formation and the radioactive decay of materials. It is often used for bathing, building heating, and electricity generation in over 26 countries.
This refers to plant or animal material used as fuel to produce electricity. This electricity is generated from renewable organic waste that would otherwise be dumped in landfills, openly burned, or left as fodder for forest fires. It is recommended for its significant environmental benefits because it cuts back on waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
Biomass supplies roughly 10% of global energy, the majority of which is adopted for cooking and heating.
- Wind Energy
This involves the use of wind turbines to generate electricity. Wind turbines convert the energy in wind to electricity by rotating propeller-like blades around a rotor. The rotor turns the driveshaft, which turns an electric generator.
This clean source of energy is dependable, infinite, and cost-effective. Wind Energy continues to grow at an exponential rate and is currently the largest source of renewable power in the USA.
Is Wind Energy Understated?
Considered the second largest renewable energy source worldwide, Wind Energy produces over 6% of global electricity.
This renewable energy source plays a pivotal role in the world’s energy supply. With a reputation as the cleanest energy source, Wind Energy could prevent more than a billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from being emitted each year.
The endorsement in the industry continues to rise as investments in wind and solar energy total over $300 billion. With tax incentives and monetary benefits provided, Wind energy is set to grow by over 16%.
Although grossly underestimated, Wind power is an ideal technology positioned to produce roughly 20% of global energy.
Is It Possible To Mine Crypto With Wind?
A major milestone in the sustainable journey of cryptocurrencies is the introduction of green mining.
Mining is the process by which new coins are entered into circulation and transactions are verified.
Although widely labeled as an energy-intensive process, mining does not have to be harmful to the environment. By using clean energy to power mining activities, cryptocurrencies remain sustainable and do not contribute to climate change.
Theoretically, powering mining activities is quite possible with wind energy. However, a number of factors must be considered. They include:
This is a crucial factor in setting up a renewable mining operation. The best locations to access wind resources are typically on high mountains, in large open fields, or on the edge of bodies of water.
The Roscoe Wind Farm is one of the largest in the world with over 627 wind turbines. It is located near Roscoe, Texas. This location gets an average wind speed of 15.7mph making it favorable for the utilization of wind energy.
The selection of an appropriate site is key to the financial and technical success of wind-energy mining projects.
- Power required
The power generated by wind turbines is dependent on three factors:
- Wind Speed:
This factor varies with wind energy in exponential amounts. Small changes in wind speed have a large impact on the amount of power available in the wind.
- Air Density:
The more dense the air, the more energy received by the turbine. Turbines will produce more power at lower elevations and in locations with cooler average temperatures.
- Swept Area:
This refers to the size of the area through which the rotor spins. The larger the swept area, the more power the turbine can capture from the wind.
It is necessary to calculate the energy required by mining rigs and thus factor how many wind turbines will be necessary. A basic mining rig requires a minimum of 450-500 watts and that figure triples when using multiple GPUs.
- No wind turbines:
The amount of wind turbines determines the cost of set-up, power generated, and the space required for installation. This number is affected by the region in consideration as well as electricity requirement.
Assuming it runs daily with no stops, a typical roof turbine will generate 438 kWh per year. By considering the mining equipment used and the power needed, the number of wind turbines required can be calculated. This number must be decided before switching to a wind mining system.
It would not be an exaggeration to label this the most important factor in switching to green mining. If the cost of wind energy is significantly greater than electricity costs, miners are discouraged and renewable sources are abandoned. However, underwise wasted wind energy can be utilized to mine cryptocurrencies. This is done in certain regions where wind turbines produce far more power than the region could use. Because transporting this energy is expensive and massive energy losses occur, miners become vital in that society to use the excess energy. This process often offsets the cost and generates a profit.
Though the high cost of wind energy is a major restraint to its adoption for mining, technological advancements, as well as government subsidies, are gradually reducing production costs.
To compute the real rate of return as well as expenditures and income, programmes are available as aid.
Green mining is always advisable but these factors must be weighed to ensure profitable mining. After careful consideration, the most suitable method for mining can then be determined.
Way Forward For Bitcoin Mining On Wind Energy
Mining with wind energy is definitely possible but may be unadvisable for the individual miner. By joining professional investors and contractors, small-time miners may still earn profitable returns while enjoying the benefits of green mining.
At EZ Blockchain, we aim to breach the gap between the energy sector and the blockchain ecosystem. By providing solar and wind crypto mining services, we solve global waste energy problems associated with crypto mining.
Through the strategic implementation of our innovative and revolutionary solutions, we provide profit for both producers and landowners while meeting environmental protection regulations.
We believe in the utilization of waste energy and that solving problems associated with gas flaring and stranded gas problems is a true win-win for both the energy and crypto industries.
EZ Blockchain is an innovative company that understands the problem of climate change and its environmental implications and is driven to create a gas flaring mitigation solution. This solution is eco-friendly, economical, and achievable.