All the companies included in the study were asked to explain “the impact of your facilities on the energy costs of local families and businesses,” but no one could describe existing estimates or models that tracked these impacts. Those who dealt with the issue said that this was because they did not expect to have a noticeable effect on the cost of consumer energy bills. One company, Bit Digital, said it would be counter-intuitive to investigate its own impact on local families and businesses because businesses are intentionally located in rural areas with excess power supply and limited demand – and take up empty space not used on the grid, does not compete with consumers for electricity.
Bit Digital’s Chief Strategy Officer, Samir V. Tabar, criticized the letter from Warren et al. to be “quiet on” data provided showing how the cryptocurrency firm promotes job creation “in dilapidated economies while leveraging unwanted power infrastructure.” Tabar says Bit Digital is “happy to help shape the industry by being a leader in using sustainable energy sources,” and the company “hoped the senator would see our efforts there.”
Because data is so underreported, it is still difficult to predict how local residents and businesses will be affected by the expected growth of these firms. Some companies said that due to commitments from cryptocurrencies to switch to renewable energy sources, things could change so quickly that existing data cannot be used reliably to predict how U.S. citizens will be affected. At least one company, Stronghold Digital Mining, claimed that “the many factors affecting homes’ electricity costs,” such as “natural gas prices, temperature fluctuations and other factors,” make it “difficult to attribute any change in local electricity costs” to cryptocurrency mining. not immediately upon a request for comment.)
Congressmen believe reporting requirements are the answer. They are particularly concerned about residents and businesses in states like Texas, where “relatively cheap electricity costs” attract “an influx of cryptocurrency companies,” which could potentially “add to stress on the state’s electricity grid.”
The future of cryptocurrency in the United States
Warren et al. say that since 2019, global power consumption from bitcoin mining alone has “increased almost fourfold” – which basically erased “the overall reductions in greenhouse gas emissions attributed to electric vehicles.”
In their response, cryptocurrency companies pushed back against environmental complaints by pointing out that their goal is to spend as little money as possible on electricity, and therefore the largest companies are highly motivated to switch to renewable energy sources. That, companies argued, could help the United States achieve its renewable energy targets if the United States supported the expansion of cryptocurrency instead of limiting or banning what China has done and India is trying to do.
Companies also say that due to agreements between electricity companies and crypto-mining companies to shut down miners’ power when there is an increase in energy demand on the grid, companies are helping to stabilize energy supply and reduce consumer costs. Bit Digital even suggested that lawmakers consider rewarding miners participating in these programs and encouraging more cities to adopt crypto-mine partnerships. Cryptomine workers’ hunger for growth and incentives seem, predictably, limitless.
Energy security remains a top priority in the United States for most Democrats, and helping officials understand how digital currency works will remain an important part of the country’s energy consumption equation. By the end of the summer, congressmen expect the EPA and DOE to reveal how they plan to increase reporting on cryptocurrency operations in the United States. If the Agency’s response is timely, this update should come beforehand President Joe Biden’s request for a September report it will partly explain the energy policy implications if the United States adopts a digital currency of a central bank in the coming years.
This story originally appeared on Ars Technica.