Bitcoin power consumption could exceed that of all households in Iceland, according to a local company
This year, the use of electricity in data centers for Bitcoin mining in Iceland is likely to exceed the consumption of all households in the country . As the energy company HS Orka told the BBC , if it happened it would be a problem, since the country would not have enough energy available for all of them.
January has been a black month for criptodivisas, as their values have been suffering large declines in recent weeks. However, the fever for Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies has not yet been extinguished , and there are still companies willing to take part with them by mounting servers or datacenters designed exclusively for mining.
The chain of blocks, the technology that supports cryptocurrencies, works through nodes that form the decentralized network. Those who operate these nodes are called miners because they are incentivized by distributing among them the cryptocurrencies that are generated , something that has made some miners have obtained great benefits . This has led many to see in the mining of cryptocurrencies a business model, and hence the proliferation of mining plants.
“What we are seeing now is … one can almost call exponential growth, I think, in the consumption [of energy] of data centers,” said Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, Director of Business Development at HS Orka. ” I do not see what’s going to stop yet, I’m getting a lot of calls and visits from potential investors or companies that want to build data centers in Iceland.”
The energy problem of Bitcoin
Sigurbergsson also says he expects Bitcoin’s mining operations from the new projected plants to use around 840 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity to supply data center computers and cooling systems. Meanwhile, the estimated consumption by the country’s population during the same year to supply their homes is 700 gigawatt hours.
And according to his calculations, there would not be enough energy currently for such consumption in the new mining centers. All in spite of the fact that cryptocurrencies and domestic consumption make up a comparatively small part of the total electricity generated by the country, which in 2015 was 18,700 GWh of electricity in a year. The majority of this energy is used in the industry.
It should be noted that we are facing the estimates of a company, and that no comments have been made from the Icelandic government. However, the consumption of the Bitcoin platform is a matter of study in different communities of experts. Many studies suggest that it is practically impossible to know what the real energy consumption of all your annual transactions is, but there are estimates that suggest that it is comparable to the annual consumption of a country like Ecuador.
To this we must add the environmental problem that would generate more electricity for Bitcoin in countries like Iceland, where most of its energy is produced by renewable energy , with around 70% coming from hydroelectric power and the rest coming from the geothermal
The politicians of the country remember that hydroelectric plants alter the aquatic ecosystem , and geothermines cool the surrounding land. All those sacrifices would be for almost nothing, since according to some politicians have said, the value for Iceland of these plants is virtually non-existent.
“The cryptocurrency mining requires almost no personnel, very little in capital investments and, in general, it does not leave taxes”, said in a twit Smári McCarthy, of the Pirate Party. “The value for Iceland … is virtually zero.”