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Crypto Is Straining the Power Grid. Congress Wants to Rein It In | WIRED

All companies included in the research were asked to explain “the impacts of their facilities on energy costs for local families and businesses,” but none were able to describe existing estimates or models that track those impacts. those who responded to the question said this was because they did not expect to have a noticeable effect on the costs of consumer energy bills. one company, a bit digital, said it would be counterintuitive to study its own impact on local families and businesses, because businesses are intentionally located in rural areas with excess energy supply and limited demand, taking up empty space that cannot be uses on the power grid, not compete with consumers for power.

bit digital’s chief strategy officer, samir v. tabar, criticized the letter by warren, et al. for keeping quiet about provided data showing how the crypto mining company fosters job creation “in crumbling economies while using unwanted energy infrastructure.” tabar says bit digital is “happy to help shape the industry by being a leader in the use of sustainable energy sources,” and the company “hoped the senator would see our efforts there.”

Reading: Bitcoin is our electrical grid

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Because the data is not reported, it remains difficult to forecast how local residents and businesses will be affected by the projected growth of these businesses. Some companies said that due to commitments by crypto mining companies to switch to renewable energy sources, things could change so quickly that existing data cannot be reliably used to forecast how citizens will be affected. At least one company, stronghold digital mining, stated that “the multitude of factors that affect residential electricity costs,” such as “natural gas prices, temperature fluctuations, and other factors,” make it “difficult to attribute any change on local electricity costs. ” to crypto mining. (Stronghold did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Congressmen believe that requiring reports is the answer. They are especially concerned about residents and businesses in states like Texas, where “relatively cheap electricity costs” are attracting “an influx of crypto mining companies,” which could “increase the strain on the state’s power grid.” /p>

warren, et al. they say that since 2019, global energy consumption from bitcoin mining alone “increased nearly fourfold,” essentially erasing “the total reductions in greenhouse gas emissions attributed to electric vehicles.”

In their responses, crypto mining companies dismissed environmental complaints by noting that their goal is to spend as little money as possible on energy, and therefore larger companies are highly motivated to switch to renewable energy sources. . That, the companies said, could help the US. uu. reach its renewable energy goals if the us uu. support the expansion of crypto mining, instead of restricting or banning it as China has done and India is trying to do.

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The companies also say that because of agreements between power companies and crypto mining companies to cut off miners’ power when there is a spike in power demand on the grid, the companies help stabilize the supply. energy and reduce consumption costs. bit digital even suggested that lawmakers consider rewarding miners who participate in these programs and encourage more cities to adopt crypto mining associations. Crypto miners’ craving for growth and incentive seems, unsurprisingly, limitless.

Energy security remains one of America’s top priorities. uu. for most Democrats, and helping officials understand how digital currency works will remain an important part of the nation’s energy use equation. by the end of the summer, congressmen expect the epa and doe to reveal how they plan to increase reporting on crypto mining in the us. uu. If the agency’s response is timely, that update should come before President Joe Biden’s request for a September report that will explain, in part, the energy policy implications if the United States adopts a central bank digital currency in the United States. coming years.

This story originally appeared on ars technica.

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