Bitcoin has a well-known problem, even if many Bitcoin fans like to ignore it or pretend it’s not real. The problem is that bitcoin mining uses a huge amount of electricity. It’s not a huge amount, and maybe actually not a huge amount – it’s a ridiculous amount.
Of course, people who like the concept are keen to throw it out by saying that bitcoin miners can only use renewable energy – solar and wind are now cheaper anyway to produce new energy, right? However, this misses some points. There is only so much solar PV and wind turbines out there, ramping up production capacity takes years, and needs clear signals. Production needs to increase rapidly and is increasing rapidly, but increased production is needed to avoid or shut down fossil fuel power plants. Every single serious plan To reduce emissions by an adequate amount by 2030, it involves cutting energy use – reducing it a lot. We need to shut down coal-fired power plants and fossil methane *yesterday (*also known as “natural gas”), but we’re starting to abandon the use of that term here at CleanTechnica since it’s a green wash term). We need new solar and wind power plants to start working online to do that. Even if bitcoin miners start devouring solar panels and wind turbines to power their mining, that means that these clean power plants will be less available to other markets and those other markets will run on fossil fuels for much longer.
Definitely, in 2050, go for it if you like! Go crypto frenzy. But we need to shut down hundreds of fossil power plants in 2020sAnd we can’t delay that just because some people don’t want to trust the federal governments and the organizations that run monetary policy today.
But let’s get back to the story. It’s a great.
With them particleAnd particle Energy Needs**, Bitcoin miners have been known to use huge amounts of coal power, especially in China (** and no, that’s nothing like the power needs of ATMs – which I don’t think I’ve used in ~10 years – or internet banking It is more energy usage on a per transaction basis). As the bitcoin market grows, it needs to find more and more power around the world, and that means more and more dirty power. This brings us to the news. Recently, 200 bitcoin miners and oil and gas executives reportedly met at a private venue in Houston, Texas. CleanTechnica We weren’t invited, so we can’t say for sure if it’s about getting more energy supplies for mining, if it’s about investment opportunities of some kind, if it’s about ways to hide money to avoid paying taxes, or if So it was just a benevolent meeting to chat with sports, weather and latte drinks. However, the reports from CNBC He points out that it is primarily about the first thing – getting dirty electricity to power more bitcoin mining.
On a residential back street in Houston, in a 150,000-square-foot warehouse to protect high-end vintage cars, 200 oil and gas executives and bitcoin miners mingled, drank beer, and chatted about a shop on a recent Wednesday night in August. CNBC I reported last week. “One big topic for discussion: using “stranded” natural gas to power bitcoin mining rigs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making money for gas providers, as well as miners.”
Let’s separate this last sentence, because it is the crucial sentence and the second half of it is meaningless. “Stranded assets” in this context are not power plants that are no longer competitive (although some have been revived or kept alive to power bitcoin mining). Bitcoin mining restores economic viability to the moribund fossil energy market in another way. What is being exploited, according to the article, is unused fossil methane at oil sites. Notably, the use of this “stranded methane” makes oil drilling more economical, and makes it easier to continue to sell deceptively cheap oil. There is nothing good in this. And this is not the end of the environmental catastrophe. The way this suspended methane is burned is also very inefficient and harmful to our climate.
Bitcoin is no joke. It’s a massive and crazy climate disaster.
Here are some quotes from options CNBC a story:
Just take Hayden Griffin Haby III, an oilman turned bitcoin. This Texas-born father of three has spent 14 years in the oil and gas business, and it sums up what this monthly get-together is all about.
Habi started as a land worker where he brokered land contracts, and later, he ran his own oil company. But for the past nine months, he has been working exclusively in the bitcoin mining business. … [H]e co-founded Limpia Creek Technologies, which supplies bitcoin mining rigs with flaming, ventilated, and deactivated natural gas assets.
Bitcoin miners are very interested in finding cheap sources of electricity, so Texas — with its crypto-friendly politicians, an unregulated power grid, and an abundance of inexpensive energy sources — is a practically perfect choice. The union becomes more harmonious when miners connect their rigs to stranded energy, like the natural gas that is wasted in oil fields across Texas.
“I just learned that the city of Houston will be the first to explode because of the energy-mining connection — if we organize a good get-together,” [Parker] Lewis told CNBC. “It is also key to Texas being the bitcoin capital of the world.”
Capturing surplus and otherwise wasted natural gas from drilling sites and then using that energy to mine Bitcoin still falls solidly into the avant-garde technology category.
The article noted that this meeting and the bitcoin miner’s rush to Texas stemmed in large part from China’s expulsion of bitcoin miners. As mentioned earlier, bitcoin miners use a huge amount of coal energy, mostly in China. The plan for many of them now seems clear: Forget about Chinese coal, just switch to cheap fossil fuel energy in Texas.
Anyone who believes that Bitcoin is not an environmental and climate disaster is not paying attention or putting on some seriously crippling clouds. Switching to a hugely energy-intensive investment vehicle (because, come on, no one spends bitcoin like cash) isn’t just a mistake. It is basically a crime against humanity. Human society digs the graves of millions or billions of people because of common phrases and fanciful idealism. No cryptocurrency will eliminate wealth inequality or solve the world’s problems. All I see so far is that it creates even bigger problems. (Side note: The cult-like obsession with cryptocurrency is a bit annoying on social media and various forums around the web, and there’s no doubt a massive amount of bot activity and the pumping of publicity.)
Oh, and I haven’t gotten to what seems to be the worst part yet. The way so much of this fossil methane is burned is inefficient as it gets. Miners use generators. Here is more:
“The chemistry is great,” explained Adam Ortulf, who heads US business development for Upstream Data, a company that manufactures and supplies portable mining solutions for oil and gas facilities.
“When methane or methane burns, the only exhaust is carbon dioxide and H2O vapor. This is literally the same thing that comes out of my mouth when I exhale,” Ortolf continued.
But Ortolf points out that flares are only 75 to 90% effective. “Even with a torch, some of the methane is vented without burning,” he said.
This is the time when on-site bitcoin mining can be particularly impactful.
When methane is turned on in an engine or generator, 100% of the methane is burned and none of it escapes or is released into the air, according to Ortolf.
“But no one is going to run it with a generator unless they can make money, because generators cost money to get and maintain,” he said. “So unless it is economically sustainable, producers will not burn gas internally.”
“This is the best gift the oil and gas industry can get,” Ortolf said. They left a lot of hydrocarbons on the table, but now they are no longer geographically restricted to selling energy. “
In a way, the CNBC The article attempts to spin this as an environmental good. I think the reporter doesn’t know anything about this and just bought the nonsensical talking points of the bitcoin/oil and gas miners. They may now think that the awesome CO2 emissions we are flooding into our atmosphere will only lead to more trees and shrubs.
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay / Pexels (CC0)
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