The percentage of the global Bitcoin mining industry running on renewable power increased by 1% to 58.5% in the fourth quarter of 2021 according to new data.
The Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC) announced the findings of its fourth quarter survey on Jan. 18.
The survey focused on three metrics: sustainable power mix, technological efficiency and electricity consumption.
Founded in May 2021, the BMC is a voluntary global forum of Bitcoin mining companies such as Bit Digital, BitFury, Bitfarms and Atlas Mining, and other industry organizations.
Michael Saylor, the founder and CEO of MicroStrategy, and a key member of the BMC noted:
“This quarter we saw the trend continue with dramatic improvements to Bitcoin mining energy efficiency & sustainability due to advances in semiconductor technology, the rapid expansion of North American mining, the China Exodus, and worldwide rotation toward sustainable energy and modern mining techniques.”
The voluntary survey compiled sustainable energy information from miners accounting for more than 46% of the global Bitcoin network. According to the survey, the members of the Mining Council, itself, are harnessing electricity with a sustainable energy mix of 66.1%.
The self-reported data was then used to estimate the global Bitcoin mining industry’s sustainable energy mix was approximately 58.5% during Q4, an increase of one percentage point on Q3's figure. The industry’s estimated technological efficiency grew by 9% as well, to 19.3 petahash per MW.
Co-founder of Core Scientific and the BMC Darin Feinstein noted that the hashrate of the BMC participating members increased by 77% in Q4.
Related: Georgian citizens made to swear an oath to stop mining crypto
The environmental impacts of Bitcoin mining have been heatedly debated for some time and the U.S Congress is now preparing to take a thorough look at the energy impacts of proof-of-work blockchains. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has just announced key witnesses to testify on the energy and environmental impacts of crypto mining at a hearing on Jan. 20.
Notable witnesses include the CEO of BitFury Brian Brooks, Cornell Tech professor Ari Juels and the CEO of Soluna Computing John Belizaire.
Bitcoin miners are increasingly looking for sustainable energy sources as the pressure mounts from the public, shareholders and governments. Investors like Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, also known as Mr. Wonderful, say they are looking to purchase stocks of mining companies that use sustainable energy.
One avenue that could be explored further is nuclear energy. At the Bitcoin & Beyond Virtual Summit in early November, vice president of Griid Harry Sudock said nuclear energy could present an opportunity to introduce large amounts of clean, carbon-free energy.