Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Tesla Technoking Elon Musk both support cryptocurrencies and believe that Bitcoin can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and thus Stop global warming. However, this view is doubted by many renewable energy experts.

In a white paper released not long ago, Dorsey’s payment company Square and cryptocurrency investor Ark Invest jointly argued that Bitcoin miners are the “key” to increase global renewable energy production capacity, enabling solar and wind power generation to become More profitable.

Dorsey tweeted the paper titled "Bitcoin Incentives for the Development of Renewable Energy", and Musk also gave positive praise. Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood said that this research "Debunk the myth that Bitcoin mining is destroying the environment."

However, scholars and analysts who specialize in renewable energy have questioned these claims. They warned that these claims rely on dubious assumptions and warned that many other technologies can achieve the same goal.

Lucas Davis, a senior professor of energy market research at Berkeley Haas School of Business, said: “This paper exaggerates the role of Bitcoin. I don’t believe Bitcoin is the best solution, nor do I believe that Bitcoin is the best solution. It’s a “critical technology.” California, Europe and the world are seeing substantial increases in renewable energy generation, but this is not driven by Bitcoin."

Ravi Manghani, director of solar research at energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, said that the argument of the paper is a bit "exaggerated", saying that Bitcoin is a technology that can help increase renewable energy generation, but in fact it It is unlikely to play a major role alone .

Bitcoin critic David Gerard said in an interview that this article is "helping Bitcoin laundering", "The Bitcoin mining process is so terrible and the impact is bad, for which its supporters The first job is to find excuses for it, any excuse is fine."

In the past year, as prices continue to increase and the power consumption of Bitcoin mining has skyrocketed, Bitcoin's carbon footprint has become the subject of fierce controversy. The Bitcoin network executes transactions and generates new Bitcoins through a harsh calculation process called mining. According to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) estimates, this process consumes almost the same amount of electricity as the country's electricity consumption in the Netherlands.

A recent Bank of America report found that Bitcoin mining has "huge environmental costs." The report stated: "We did not find that too many other human activities have a higher carbon footprint than Bitcoin mining."

However, Square's paper believes that if miners can be induced to use renewable energy, Bitcoin will be the best choice to fill the gap in the current renewable energy system. This statement is based on the fact that a large amount of excess energy generated by solar and wind power cannot be stored with existing battery technology.

Although electricity demand usually peaks at night, solar and wind energy are most abundant during the day and late at night. The ensuing massive surplus must be discarded, or "reduced", thereby reducing the return on investment of the new plant.

Square stated in the paper: "Bitcoin miners constitute a very special group. They become the last buyers of energy that can be turned on or off at any time anywhere in the world. This may enable society to deploy more solar and wind power generation. Capacity and facilitate the transition to a cleaner, more resilient energy grid."

Many Bitcoin miners have adopted similar strategies, such as going to areas where solar power is cheaper. Richard Perez, a senior solar energy researcher at the University of Albany in New York, said that cryptocurrencies may become a powerful force to expand the utilization of renewable energy before the reform of the energy market stops penalizing suppliers that generate too much electricity.

Cisco DeVries, a former White House energy official and CEO of California-based energy management company Ohmconnect, said: “Renewable energy is sometimes in oversupply and sometimes in over demand. This is a growing problem.”

Although de Vries does not believe that Bitcoin is a currency, he doubts whether it is the best way to solve the uncertainty of renewable energy supply or excess demand. He said that Bitcoin's volatility and recent rise may discourage energy investors accustomed to signing 30-year agreements.

There is little evidence that Bitcoin miners prefer to use renewable energy to generate electricity. A report this month by Wood Mackenzie, a world-renowned energy consulting firm, found that the United States has not successfully launched solar or wind energy projects through the Bitcoin mining agreement, although it is predicted that this will happen in the future.

This disconnect has sparked a lot of ridicule on Dorsey on Twitter. Bitcoin critics likened his logic to "arson incentivize building houses", "gunshots incentivize gunshot wound treatment", and "fuel-guzzlers incentivize buying electric car".

Davis, a senior professor of energy markets at Berkeley Haas School of Business, said: "Bitcoin miners will go to any place in the world where they can buy the cheapest electricity, regardless of the environmental consequences of this electricity."

CCAF researcher Michel Ruchs declined to comment on Square's paper. But he said that Bitcoin miners in the United States and Europe are vigilant about the "life and death threats" brought about by the new regulations, hoping to reduce emissions, while miners in other places are not so worried.

When asked whether renewable energy would bring a cost advantage to Bitcoin miners, Laches said: "Energy assets like hydropower stations that are far from the center of demand and need to be cut when there is too much electricity are definitely more economical, but based on fossils. The energy supply of fuel is sometimes surplus. In this case, one might argue that Bitcoin mining makes these power generation businesses more economical again."

Christopher Knittel, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, stated that Bitcoin miners need specific incentives to shut down machines at specific times, rather than simply consuming any available electricity around the clock.

Bitcoin is also far from the only way to reduce emissions. Other companies are experimenting with the use of surplus electricity to produce hydrogen fuel for trading with other regions and countries, or pushing special train cars uphill to recover energy as they slow down.

Other solutions include reducing power consumption during peak hours, such as using smart thermometers or technologies from companies such as Ohmconnect to reduce power consumption, and allowing more people to change power usage from night to day. Davis said: "There are many smart people in all walks of life who are considering how to take advantage of the low price period."
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