Last Updated: 23 August 2022
The four largest US bitcoin miners have received a letter from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. They want to know more about their energy consumption and “how each company is reducing that impact and what steps are being taken to not burden the energy grid or undermine the country’s climate goals.”
Letter to miners
The letter was sent to Core Scientific, Marathon Digital Holdings, Riot Blockchain, and Stronghold Digital Mining.
It wrote things like:
“Blockchain offers tremendous promise that can make our personal information more secure and economical. However, the energy consumption and hardware required for PoW-based cryptocurrencies can in some cases cause serious externalities in the form of harmful emissions and excess e-waste.”
JUST IN – 4 U.S. #Bitcoin mining companies including Marathon, Riot, CoreScientific, and Stronghold have received a letter from the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce demanding explanations on energy usage and e-waste. pic.twitter.com/IX4IHttG0b
— Dennis Porter (@Dennis_Porter_) August 19, 2022
The other quote in the press release sounds dangerous for the mining sector in the US. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce writes:
“Given the existential threat posed by the climate crisis, we are deeply concerned about activities that increase demand for fossil fuels, with the potential to put new strain on our energy grid. (….) Burning more fossil fuels for PoW data centres could undermine climate targets.”
The question is whether its prejudices are correct. According to figures from the Bitcoin Mining Council, 66.8% of the electricity used by miners affiliated with the council comes from renewable energy sources.
Even BlackRock, one of the biggest ESG fanatics, no longer seems to see bitcoin’s energy use as a hurdle either.
Questions for miners
The US government wants to know the following from the four bitcoin mining companies:
- How much energy did each of the company’s cryptomining facilities use in 2021?
- What are the energy sources of the facilities, including the energy mix of each?
- What is the proportion of energy consumed that is offset by renewable energy credits?
- How many days did the companies curtail cryptomining in the past year to help with grid stability?
- What was the average cost per megawatt-hour and profit per megawatt-hour at each of the company’s cryptomining facilities in 2021?