Alarm Over Bitcoin Mining is a Red Herring: Energy Researcher
The amount of electricity consumed by bitcoin mining is not the worldwide environmental crisis it is often portrayed to be. This is the specialist assessment of Dr. Katrina Kelly-Pitou,  a research associate in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.
‘New Technologies Are Power Intensive’
Writing in an report penned for non-profit academic media outlet The Conversation, Kelly-Pitou criticizes the characterization of bitcoin mining’s power consumption as some sort of fatal design and style flaw, stating that the general narrative around cryptocurrency as an environmental danger is a gross oversimplification that encourages the spread of factual inaccuracies as received wisdom.
Explaining why she thinks of the so-called “bitcoin power crisis” as a red herring, she says:
“I am a researcher who research clean energy technology, specifically the transition toward decarbonized energy systems…New technologies &ndash such as information centers, computers and before them trains, planes and automobiles &ndash are typically energy-intensive. Over time, all of these have become much more effective, a organic progression of any technologies: Saving energy equates to saving expenses.”
At a time when a lot of the conversation around the future of bitcoin mining is dominated by statistics such as the fact that it at the moment consumes nearly as significantly electrical energy as the Republic of Ireland, Kelly-Pitou believes that to restrict the conversation to the energy consumption of bitcoin mining alone is to miss a bigger truth about power and environmental issues.
In her opinion, the use of renewable power makes it possible for for increased power consumption for any objective which includes bitcoin mining with out possessing any unfavorable environmental impact. The conversation must alternatively, she says, be centered around where the electrical energy utilized to power cryptocurrency mining comes from and how it is generated.
Bitcoin Mining is ‘Not the Negative Guy’
Producing her point additional, she compares bitcoin mining’s annual energy usage of 30 terrawatts to that of the global banking business, estimated at an typical of 100 terrawatts. Even if cryptocurrency mining was to grow a hundredfold, this would still place its share of worldwide power consumption at just two %.
Kelly-Pitou also points out that cryptocurrency mining is expanding in locations identified for inexpensive and abundant renewable electrical energy such as Oregon in America’s Pacific Northwest, which has vast amounts of hydropower.
China’s Sichuan mountain region, which is at times thought of as the international nexus of bitcoin mining, is also a favoured industry location for the identical cause. In Europe, geothermal power-rich Iceland is also a common mining destination, meaning that mining in that nation functions almost 100 % on renewable energy.
All of this she says, merely proves that the conversation must be significantly less about whether or not or not bitcoin utilizes a lot of electrical energy and more about the carbon footprint of the electricity in question.
Concluding her argument, she states:
“Like a lot of other elements of the power market, bitcoin is not necessarily a ‘bad guy.’ It&rsquos basically a new, and vaguely understood, industry. The discussion about power consumption and bitcoin is, I think, unfair with no discussing the power intensity of new technologies all round, particularly in data centers.”
Photos from Shutterstock
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Published at Tue, 21 Aug 2018 00:40:34 +0000