Bitcoin Mining Could Be Good for US Energy Independence: Research
Republican Congressman Pete Sessions from Texas has come out with a bold statement about the impact Bitcoin mining will have not just on his state but on the United States as a whole.
The Texan representative, a proponent of Bitcoin (BTC) mining, tweeted on March 22 that “Bitcoin Mining will play a critical role in rebuilding energy independence in the USA.” His statement drew a mixed bag of reactions from both supporters and critics. Wyoming’s Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis was among the supporters who responded to his tweet with a succinct “Indeed.”
Both lawmakers have been vocal advocates for policies that support innovation in the crypto industry, not just for miners. As U.S. consumers suffer from a spike in gas prices due to global tensions, the debate has ramped up about how the country can reduce its dependence on external energy sources.
Sessions’ view highlights a growing compilation of research that suggests the innovations from the BTC mining industry could have global applications in industrial energy consumption and production.
As Texas has come to contribute over 14% of the country’s total Bitcoin hash rate, the stability of the state’s electrical grid and the environmental impact of miners have come to the forefront of growing criticism, as it has in other mining hubs around the world.
Despite those concerns, various researchers have suggested that the growing mining market in Texas could reduce its net environmental impact and energy demands on the public energy grid.
A March 2021 research paper detailed how flexible data centers could promote renewable energy resources. A flexible data center generates its own energy either from a small dedicated renewable power plant or draws power from the grid depending on the grid's current state.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Texas is already the country’s leading wind power generator. Therefore, miners may already have access to renewable energy when needed. Promoting miners to utilize a flexible data center model could stimulate greater growth in renewable energy accessibility and reliability. The paper stated:
“Hence, the (integrated energy system) may contribute to grid stability by locally using generated electricity instead of feeding it into the grid.”
Software solutions firm Lancium published similar research last October. It concluded that as the mining industry grows and more operations implement a flexible data center model, it will likely prevent energy grid shortages while promoting the growth of renewable energy resources. Researcher Joshua D. Rhodes, Ph.D. said in the paper.
“As grids move towards incorporating higher levels of intermittent resources, such as wind and solar, flexible demand will play an ever more important role in keeping the electrical grid system stable.”