As US Crypto Mining Surges, Lawmakers Demand Disclosure of Emissions and Energy Data

The world has changed since China banned cryptomining, the Guardian reports. And now “more than a third of the global computing power dedicated to mining bitcoin comes from the US, Senator Elizabeth Warren and five other Democrats reported in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency…”

But the Guardian also notes there’s two problems with this:
– The largest US cryptomining companies have the capacity to use as much electricity as nearly every home in Houston, Texas; energy use that is contributing to rising utility bills, according to an investigation by Democratic lawmakers…

– “The results of our investigation … are disturbing … revealing that cryptominers are large energy users that account for a significant — and rapidly growing — amount of carbon emissions,” the letter states.

“It is imperative that your agencies work together to address the lack of information about cryptomining’s energy use and environmental impacts.” The congressional Democrats have asked the EPA and the Department of Energy to require cryptominers to disclose emissions and energy use, noting that regulators know little about the full environmental impact of the industry….

The power demands of the industry are also coming at a cost to consumers, the letter states, citing a study that found cryptomining operations in upstate New York led to a rise in electric bills by roughly $165m for small businesses and $79m for individuals.

The main operator of Texas’s grid admitted this week to the Verge that by 2026 crypto mining is set to increase demand on the state’s power grid by a whopping 27 gigawatts — or nearly a third of the grid’s current maximum capacity.

And an associate professor at Rochester Institute of Technology with a background in electricity system policy warns the site that “The more crypto mining that comes into the state, the higher the residents should expect the electricity prices to become.”