The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is requiring large crypto miners to report their energy consumption. This initiative is part of an effort to regulate cryptocurrency mining due to the exorbitant amount of energy consumed by the industry. writes Tom’s Hardware.
So far, the EIA is only collecting data, but it should lead to the introduction of new rules that will deter miners in the future. The new requirements come after the EIA published a study that found that cryptocurrency mining consumes up to 2.3% of the electricity generated in the United States.
“We intend to continue to analyze and write about the energy implications of cryptocurrency mining activities in the United States…,” EIA administratior Joe DeCarolis said in a release in January. “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.”
Most likely, the United States government wants to “suppress” cryptocurrency mining, which affects the reliability and resilience of the power grid in densely populated areas. Potentially unrestricted mining could lead to higher electricity costs for households and problems with power shortages during peak hours. As of January 2024, the EIA has identified 137 large cryptomining facilities in the United States.
In addition, the EIA notes that the number of crypto mining operations in the United States has increased significantly over the past few years. Energy consumption has increased from 0.6% to 2.3% of the country’s total electricity consumption. For comparison, the bitcoin mining industry in the US consumes the annual energy budget of such states as Utah or West Virginia.
The EIA found that the global share of bitcoin mining accounted for by the United States grew from 3.4% in 2020 to a whopping 37.8% in 2022. The energy consumption of bitcoin mining worldwide is expected to be between 0.2% and 0.9% of global demand, which is equal to the energy consumption of countries such as Greece or Australia.