Stop worrying about the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining, says energy researcher

Dr. Katrina Kelly-Pitou, a research associate at the University of Pittsburg, weighed in on the issue of bitcoin mining energy consumption, stating Bitcoin is not the “bad guy”.

In an article on The Conversation, a non-profit academic outlet, Kelly-Pitou said that the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining is not a global crisis, commenting that the narrative around cryptocurrency as a huge environmental risk is simply a gross oversimplification.

At a time when energy consumption of bitcoin mining has become a negative talking point, Kelly-Pitou believes that restricting the conversation to bitcoin mining energy consumption alone is to miss the larger truth about environmental concerns and energy. She points out that new technologies are usually energy intensive, but over time they become more efficient and often result in wider saving costs. Explaining her point, she said that:

I am a researcher who studies clean energy technology, specifically the transition toward decarbonized energy systems. I think that the conversation around bitcoin and energy has been oversimplified. New technologies – such as data centers, computers and before them trains, planes and automobiles – are often energy-intensive. Over time, all of these have become more efficient, a natural progression of any technology: Saving energy equates to saving costs.

In Kelly-Pitou’s opinion, the conversation about bitcoin mining energy consumption should be centered on where the energy is derived from and how it’s generated; further stating that using renewable energy wouldn’t have any negative environmental impact. A consensus we agree with here at, and advocate for.

Bitcoin mining not “the bad guy”

To drive the point home, Kelly-Pitou compares the annual power usage of bitcoin mining (30 terawatts) with that of global banking industry (100 terawatts), noting that, even if bitcoin mining was to grow at a great pace, it would still account for around 2% of the global energy consumption.

Moreover, cryptocurrency mining is mostly centered around specific areas where there’s cheap and renewable electricity. Such areas include Oregon, USA, China’s Sichuan, and Iceland, among other places.

Summarising her argument, Kelly-Pitou states that:

Like many other aspects of the energy industry, bitcoin is not necessarily a ‘bad guy.’ It’s simply a new, and vaguely understood, industry. The discussion about energy consumption and bitcoin is, I believe, unfair without discussing the energy intensity of new technologies overall, specifically in data centers.

We like you, Katrina.


View posts by James
James is a cryptocurrency enthusiast, an advocate for the development and exposure of blockchain technology, and believes in the use of digital assets for the good of the society. He has been writing about crypto since he first learnt about cryptocurrencies in 2010. Initially, he was attracted by the disruptive economic and social implications of virtual currencies and blockchain technology, and over the years he has dedicated himself to learn everything he can about the industry.

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