The United States intensifies its scrutiny of cryptocurrency miners, driven by concerns over their significant energy consumption. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has stepped into action, aiming to quantify the power consumed by these operations, which could rival that of a small country or a medium-sized city.
Cryptocurrency mining has long been known for its substantial energy demands, necessary for securing blockchain networks. With the U.S. hosting a considerable portion of Bitcoin mining, the EIA is initiating efforts to monitor electricity usage, particularly in states like Georgia, New York, and Texas, where miners seek low-cost power.
The potential strain on the electricity grid and consequent impact on consumer prices are genuine worries. The EIA administrator, Joe DeCarolis, warned of possible demand spikes and price hikes, citing the example of Plattsburgh, New York, where mining activity led to surging electricity bills in 2018.
In an unprecedented move, the EIA is gathering data from 82 crypto miners across 150 facilities through an “emergency request.” This initiative aims to determine the energy sources these miners rely on, whether fossil fuels or renewable alternatives like solar or wind power.
This increased scrutiny coincides with a booming cryptocurrency market, particularly with the upcoming Bitcoin halving event prompting a surge in mining activity. While some miners claim to use renewable energy, sceptics question the sustainability of these claims. The EIA’s efforts seek to shed light on the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining, offering a clearer perspective on the industry’s footprint.