Bitcoin mining is a “critical tool” for clean energy and balancing the grid, according to a new working paper penned by Bitcoin advocates and the former president of ERCOT, the operator of Texas’ electrical grid.
The Nov. 22 paper titled “Leveraging Bitcoin Miners as Flexible Load Resources for Power System Stability and Efficiency” argued that Bitcoin mining’s inherent interruptibility and swift load response capabilities could enhance grid flexibility to better integrate variable renewable energy sources.
Authors of the working paper included Castle Island Ventures partner Nic Carter, Satoshi Action Fund CEO Dennis Porter and Science Advisor Murray Rudd, former ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) President and CEO Brad Jones — who recently passed away, along with Executive vice president of power at Houston-based tech company Lancium, Shaun Connell.
— Dennis Porter (@Dennis_Porter_) November 27, 2023
The paper provides case studies of Bitcoin miners participating in demand response programs and providing grid services in Texas, illustrating their unique capabilities as flexible and controllable loads.
The researchers concluded that this suggests that Bitcoin miners can play an important role in demand response, “thereby bolstering both the technical and economic stability of the grid.”
Some observers on X (Twitter) pointed out that the findings of the paper contrast arguments made by anti-crypto politicians who have blamed Bitcoin miners for high energy usage and loads on grids.
In October 2022, Senator Warren and six other Democrats pressed ERCOT for information detailing how much electricity Bitcoin mining operations have consumed. She has also previously attacked New York mining firm Greenidge Generation, claiming at the time that a “crackdown on environmentally wasteful cryptocurrencies” would help fight the climate crisis.
Bitcoin mining pioneer Marshall Long tagged Senator Warren in a retweet of the paper adding “The people who RUN the grids say you’re wrong,”
Aye @SenWarren where u at
The people who RUN the grids say you’re wrong
— Marshall Long (@OGBTC) November 27, 2023
The researchers concluded that the comprehensive impact of Bitcoin on global energy demand and climate change “remains complex,” but emerging data suggests “its effects might be more nuanced than conventionally believed.”
A recently published Cornell University study demonstrated how wind and solar projects can profit from Bitcoin mining during their pre-commercial development phases.
In July, Cointelegraph reported that Bitcoin mining was becoming more sustainable thanks to innovations such as hydro-cooling farms and associated petroleum gas. Moreover, in September it was reported that Bitcoin clean energy usage had exceeded 50%.