This Earth Day analysts say Bitcoin mining is inherently leaning towards green energy

April 22nd is Earth Day and with environmental sustainability being one of the key issues in the global bitcoin mining debate, analysts say the industry has started to naturally move towards cleaner and cheaper energy sources.

According to a January report by the Bitcoin Mining Council, the global bitcoin mining industry ran on an estimated 58.5% renewable energy through Q4 2021.

The clean energy preference stems from a combination of environmental awareness, political pressure and an eye for the bottom line. This is leading to a sea change that could impact power grids around the world well beyond Bitcoin (BTC) mining.

Bitcoin miners in Norway are cleaner than almost anywhere in the world thanks to the country’s access to hydroelectric power and other renewable energies. In fact, 100% of Norway’s electricity is generated from renewable energy.

Of the 157 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity that Norway produces each year, 88% comes from hydropower, with the rest from wind and thermal power.

Miners use this renewable energy to produce about 1% of the total Bitcoin hashrate, according to data from blockchain research firm CoinShares.

Norway contributes about 1% to the total Bitcoin hashrate: CoinShares

Mas Nakachi is the Managing Director of the Miami-based XBTO Group bitcoin mining operation XBTO. Founded in 2015, XBTO’s mining operation earns more than $25 million annually and claims to be powered entirely by renewable energy sources.

He believes that “Hydropower is one of the most reliable renewable energy sources available to us.”

Wind power is dependent on the weather and solar power is dependent on daylight, but rivers can flow all day, every day — and in various locations, water can be pumped uphill during off-peak hours to store excess energy to run generators when needed. Nakachi told Cointelegraph:

“The use of hydropower continues to be an effective mechanism to keep mining as efficient as possible.”

During a study published in February Energy Research & Social Sciences The journal concluded, “Cryptocurrency is inherently unsustainable,” Nakachi believes there is an easy way for miners to develop both an economically and environmentally sustainable model:

“Prioritizing some form of clean energy to power most operations is a sustainable model for successful mining operations over the long term.”

As Cointelegraph reports, another option being explored in Texas is the use of flexible data centers that can switch from the public grid to temporarily generating their own clean energy from dedicated power generators to offload the grid during periods of high retail demand.

Related: Marathon Digital moves BTC mine in Montana to strive for carbon neutrality

Tech entrepreneur and self-proclaimed environmentalist Daniel Batten detailed a multifaceted way in which the Bitcoin mining industry is creating positive change in the Brave New Coin podcast April 22. Batten argued that Bitcoin mining incentivizes the construction of renewable energy plants and helps decarbonize power grids.

Batten believes bitcoin mining is increasing demand for electricity and hence investment in renewable energy assets. Mining is suitable for intermittent energy sources and can be easily moved to far-off places to utilize surplus renewable electricity generation.

The only problem Batten sees is that the industry may not be big enough to incentivize all the renewable energy needed:

“My only real concern is: does bitcoin mining require enough power to help us build this grid at the scale we need it to?”