US Energy Department to conduct 'emergency' review of crypto miners
The provisional survey is categorized as an "emergency collection of data" request and is slated to commence next week.
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The recent price surge of Bitcoin over the past year has prompted the US Department of Energy Department to conduct an emergency survey of crypto miners.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced the initiative on January 31 and confirmed that the Office of Management and Budget authorized the survey a few days prior. The provisional survey is categorized as an “emergency collection of data” request and is slated to commence next week.
Under the emergency survey, crypto mining firms will be required to provide detailed documentation on their energy consumption.
We'll ask about their electricity consumption so we can better understand their energy demands.
— EIA (@EIAgov) January 31, 2024
“We will specifically focus on how the energy demand for cryptocurrency mining is evolving, identify geographic areas of high growth, and quantify the sources of electricity used to meet cryptocurrency mining demand,” said EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis.
According to the EIA’s statement, increased crypto mining would incentivize mining activity, increasing electricity consumption. The EIA also hopes to solicit public comment on collecting energy use data from crypto miners.
The survey represents the latest government effort to quantify electricity usage in the growing crypto-mining industry. The US became the top destination for crypto miners after China banned the practice in 2021. However, lawmakers have raised concerns about the industry’s energy appetite and climate impacts.
A 2022 congressional hearing probed crypto mining’s energy use and fossil fuel reliance, with the proceedings filed for reference to the Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act of 2022. A year later, the bill was reintroduced to Congress, prompting the Environmental Protection Agency to continue its investigations on crypto mining emissions. US President Joe Biden followed similar moves by proposing the DAME Tax, a 30% tax on crypto mining firms’ electricity expenses.
According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Bitcoin miners consumed 121.13 terawatt-hours of power in 2023 from a global scale, an all-time high and comparable to the entire country of Belgium’s electricity usage. Meanwhile, a forecast from the International Energy Agency expects crypto’s energy demand to reach 160 terawatt-hours by 2026 if left unchecked.