Bitcoin is greener than all of Europe, which itself is the greenest of any country with US using just 30% sustainable energy in its mix.
China is the world’s biggest polluter and by far according to this survey, with it using just 14.4% sustainable energy while it consumes the most with it accounting for 39,361 TW/h, US being in second place with 26,291 out of a global consumption of 162,184 TW/h.
This global data is from BP’s statistical review of world energy (2021). While the bitcoin data is from 32% of bitcoin miners, revealing they are utilizing 67% sustainable energy.
Sustainable energy is defined as electricity produced from hydro, wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal and carbon-based generation with net carbon credits.
Extrapolating to the whole network based on the 32% surveyed, the report concludes 56% of bitcoin’s energy consumption globally is sustainable.
“If you are an ESG activist, Bitcoin is the most ESG friendly industry in the world,” Michael Saylor of Microstrategy said.
The data can be criticized however for potentially being self-selective in as far as the miners that responded chose to participate in the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC) which aims to increase green energy usage in bitcoin mining.
Yet it is the first survey of its kind to detail bitcoin’s energy mix, with it claiming it has increased from 36.8% in the first quarter to 56%.
A large part of that might be the shutting down of the Chinese miners. Not necessarily because they didn’t use clean energy with most preferring hydro, but because the unknown energy mix has contracted as the global hashrate has reduced.
Whether any of this makes any difference to Tesla, which first brought up the matter in justification of suspending bitcoin acceptance for payments, is not clear.
But it does show the bitcoin mining industry is taking the matter very seriously, and although one can poke at the data, in an apple to apple comparison one would expect the bitcoin industry to be cleaner because generating your own energy is the most cost effective way to mine at scale.
A small hydro station or even a solar farm is generally the most cost effective way to do so and the quickest, with the profit motive primarily steering this new industry towards clean energy, but now also the general intention to maintain a clean environment.