The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has started a survey of electricity consumption information from identified cryptocurrency mining companies operating in the U.S. It investigated, in particular, several commercial cryptocurrency miners. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) triggered the survey as an emergency collection of data request.
“We intend to continue to analyze and write about the energy implications of cryptocurrency mining activities in the United States,” said EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis. Among the reasons is a concern about the use of electricity by cryptocurrency miners.
Electricity is not the only issue with crypto mining. According to The Wall Street Journal, bitcoin mining used more water than New York City last year. Its data came from the journal Cell Reports Sustainability. Water and electricity use may not be existential problems for crypto mining, but it could lead to regulation that would slow the industry’s growth.
A comment from the scientist who wrote the Cell Reports Sustainability is a warning about how much water mining consumes. Cell Reports Sustainability. “Between 2 and 3 billion people worldwide already experience water shortages, expected to worsen in the coming decades.”
The mining process and the energy used are part of a dual investigation of new technologies. AI data center use has exceptionally high electricity consumption. The AI and crypto industries have said they are so critical to advancing new technologies that criticism of energy use is an obstacle to developing some of the most critical technologies of the future.
The fight over energy use is not over. The investigations may have just started as electricity consumption weighs on an already weak US electricity grid.