Crypto Mining's Excessive Energy Usage called out by Congress
However, the mining firms defend their operations...
Senator Elizabeth Warren led a group of Democratic lawmakers in urging the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to crack down on the crypto mining industry, citing “disturbing” levels of power used.
Signed by four senators and two representatives, the letter calls on those able to regulate crypto miners to do so and to require said miners to disclose their carbon emissions and energy usage. Crypto mining has been an issue always raised by environmentalists due to the known amounts of massive energy expenditure used to “mine the coins.”
Seven firms have built more than 1.045 gigawatts of capacity for crypto mining purposes in the United States alone. According to the letter, "This is enough capacity to power all the residences in Houston, Texas." The letter also outlines the mining farms being run by:
As the crypto market continues to destabilize itself due to the massive amounts of sell-offs occurring, many have speculated that such a “winter” may incentivize miners to scale back their operations. Lawmakers also argue the industry is poised to grow rapidly and "is likely to be problematic for energy and emissions." Lawmakers have also cautioned, "little is known about the full scope of crypto mining activity."
The companies have since downplayed the industry as a source of planet-cooking emissions. They highlighted their individual efforts to curtail emissions and tap into renewable sources. Marathon, more specifically, pointed out its work "with energy companies to build clean, green, renewable energy resources (e.g., solar and wind) that might not otherwise be built." Currently, most of the energy used by Marathon comes directly from a coal-burning plant in Hardin, Montana.
Riot has also argued, using the same argument as Marathon (kind of), as they stated, "Bitcoin mining drives more demand for renewable energy than the typical U.S. energy consumer.” Riot also pointed out the usage of hydroelectricity in New York. However, the operations in Texas feature seven times the capacity and also draw power from the state’s grid.
Stronghold responded to the lawmakers as well stating it is "actively working to remediate coal refuse piles and converting coal refuse into energy." Bitdeer and Blockfusion used the argument of using software to specifically manage the minimization of strain on energy grids.