Crypto twitter debates over the role of renewable energy in Bitcoin mining

Crypto Twitter discusses that Bitcoin mining with clean energy provides a good solution for excess or unused energy. 

Crypto twitter debates over the role of renewable energy in Bitcoin mining

It started with Dennis Porter's tweet, podcast host and self-described Bitcoin advocate, that led to a heady discussion about renewable energy and the role of Bitcoin miners. Porter asserted that Bitcoin (BTC) creates incentives to build out renewables, but environmental scientist Peter Gleick rebuffed the statement as a "self-serving lie."

Castle Island Venture's general partner and Coin Metrics co-founder, entered the chat and called out Gleick for allegedly not knowing anything about energy. 

Carter proceeded to explain how energy markets work and defend cryptocurrency use in a thread of tweets. He first refuted Porter's claim that every kilowatt-hour, or KWH, of renewable energy, is "already being put to use productively, and bitcoin diverts that use." He argued that Porter is wrong in saying that every unit of energy is being used, citing market reports that show negative energy prices of curtailed energy that has "no economically productive use."

He pointed readers to initiatives led by the Electic Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, an organization that operates most of texas electrical grid with an excess supply. At the Texas Blockahin Summit last year, he said that Bitcoin mining can improve the economics of renewable energy projects.

According to Carter, Bitcoin mining has provided wind and solar installations the ability to soak up any excess supply that cannot be sold. Any energy that tends to be wasted when the generator stops exporting to the grid or even temporarily shuts down can be offset to mine Bitcoin. there is already a movement of miners plugging into grids at wind farms who can buy energy during off-peak periods or when prices are high, and give households better access during times of heavy demand. He called for his critics to appreciate these miners who are currently evaluating just how economically viable the infrastructure can be. 

The thread was full of commenters approx 400 comments, siding with both Carter and Gleick or asking for clarifications and also reading material from them. One user, "@SGBarbour" who builds bitcoin mines agreed with the porter that Bitcoin miners "do not incentivize renewables," but "they help un-sink capital in an unreliable generation" So while Barbour agreed that mining is good, he doesn't think that it fixes the fact that "so much capital has been wasted installing unreliable energy generation like wind and solar," he stated 

Vice Versa, another suer "@jyn_urso," a climate change physicist and recently converted Bitcoin advocate, applauded Carter for "laying out yet another great thread on how energy market work" As per her previous tweets, she believes that solutions in the community and individual level like Bitcoin mining can help accelerate the transition to renewables and lessen reliance on political structures to do so. 

Overall, this debate shows how Bitcoin and energy use are widely misunderstood. The disagreement over whether Bitcoin represents a good use of unused energy is still to be proven. An increasing number of scientists and climate change advocates are open to considering that Bitcoin's energy consumption could unlock renewable energy gains.

Carter ended up changing his Twitter name to 'nic no credentials carter after Gleick pointed out their differing academic degrees and expertise in energy. The supporter of Carter chimed in to poke fun at Gleick for using his authority status as his evidence for claiming the truth.

A recent government report shows that Norway's electricity mix is 100% renewable, giving miners there access to completely green and cheap electricity, especially hydropower.

Read: Bitcoin mining industry resumes in Iran after a three-month ban