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New Paper Praises Bitcoin Mining As A Tool For Clean Energy Generation
Bitcoin miners enjoy a high degree of flexibility, and can take advantage of excess power supply.
A new working paper examines Bitcoin's role as a possible catalyst for accelerating the global shift towards clean energy and effective power grid management.
Leveraging Bitcoin Miners as Flexible Load Resources for Power System Stability and Efficiency, written by a group of researchers, including a former member of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), explores Bitcoin's potential use as a novel technology for improving grid efficiency and facilitating rapid growth in renewable energy production.
From Villain To Hero
Bitcoin mining has enjoyed a reversal in its public image in recent months. Not long ago, it was painted as an environmental nightmare, due to the carbon emissions entailed in proof-of-work mining.
More up-to-date studies, however, have shown that Bitcoin miners are at the forefront of sustainable energy use, and that Bitcoin uses a greater percentage of clean energy than even the electric vehicle (EV) industry.
Estimates suggest that Bitcoin mining emissions have stayed the same over the last four years, even as hashrate has quadrupled and the number of users has tripled.
A Unique Resource
Bitcoin mining offers many advantages for electricity grid management. Miners' flexibility allows them to switch their rigs on and off at short notice, taking advantage of excess power, or freeing up resources when there are shortages. Unwanted electricity is essentially converted into cash, which can then be redeployed as required; in this respect, Bitcoin acts as a kind of "financial battery" and allows power stations to be used more efficiently. It is far easier to excess supply or reduce demand than it is to increase or decrease energy production.
Moreover, miners can use sources of power than cannot easily be connected to the grid. Instead of being flared off, waste gas can be used to run mining rigs. The BTC generated can again then be used to help manage the grid and electricity prices.
Our review highlights the emergence of Bitcoin miners as a potentially unique and adaptable load category. With their innate interruptibility and swift response capabilities, these miners may offer revolutionary potential for grid flexibility.
The report ends by calling power market professionals, researchers, and policymakers to understand the potential role that Bitcoin mining may play in the future, as mining operations expand further.
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