Reportedly, mining Bitcoin surpassed Sweden’s electricity use last year, but alternatives are emerging in the mining mix.
Over the course of 2022, global Bitcoin mining consumed 161 TWh of electricity in total, according to Digiconomist. The technologically skeptical platform said this amount of electricity exceeded the annual usage of a country like Sweden.
It found that each of the roughly 93 million transactions on the Bitcoin network last year averaged 1,738 kWh of electrical energy. Just one of these could have fed an average American household for two months, Digiconomist added.
Although the number of transactions actually fell since 2021, Bitcoin’s share of global electricity consumption rose incidentally to 0.64%.
Meanwhile, Digiconomist added that a single Bitcoin transaction last year emitted about 969 kilograms of CO2. This reportedly corresponds to the carbon footprint per passenger on a one-way flight from New York to Sydney. Digiconomist said the annual total of 90 megatons in CO2 emissions effectively negated any global net savings from electric vehicles.
Crypto mining figures
While Digiconomist belittles crypto mining’s global effect on sustainability, renewable resources are taking a bigger share of the energy mix.
Cambridge’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index releases some of the most widely accepted figures. According to its latest data from January 2022, renewable energy sources account for almost 40% of Bitcoin’s energy consumption.
The Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC), a global Bitcoin mining forum, also compiled more recent data on the subject. According to their survey results, around 66.8% of BMC members currently use a sustainable energy mix.
Based on this data, they estimated that the sustainable electricity mix of the global mining industry of bitcoin was approximately 59.5%. This constitutes an increase of approximately 6% year-on-year, from the second quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022.
The Cambridge data highlighted that a couple of resources are starting to grow in their share of the energy mix. The role of natural gas and nuclear power in Bitcoin mining has grown markedly over the past two years.
The share of gas in BTC’s electricity mix increased from around 13% in 2020 to 23% in 2021. On the other hand, the percentage of nuclear energy increased from 4% in 2021 to almost 9% in 2022.
These alternative approaches have received some attention over the past year. In addition to harnessing geothermal energy, El Salvador also plans to use volcanoes for natural gas to power Bitcoin mining. Meanwhile, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has encouraged miners to take advantage of the region’s cheap nuclear power.
Bitcoin mining used more electricity than Sweden in 2022, it was reportedly first spotted on BeInCrypto.