To what extent will sustainable cryptoenergy consumption be sufficient?
En+ Group, the world’s largest producer of low carbon aluminum and the largest private sector hydroelectric power generator, has entered into its first cryptomede mining joint venture.
The new venture, called Bit+, will focus on creating facilities that support crypto mining with a low carbon footprint. En+ Group’s partner in Bit+ is the Russian company BitRiver, which provides hosting services and turnkey solutions for large-scale institutional mining operations.
BitRiver currently operates the largest data centre offering placement services for Bitcoin Mining (BTC) in Russia and offers similar services throughout the country and to CIS neighbours.
The first result of the Bit+ venture is the installation of a new facility near the existing BitRiver data centre in Bratsk, located in the Irkutsk region of the Russian Federation. The En+ Group has committed 10 MW of electricity to the facility, which is composed of modular crypto mining units and is already operational. The companies have plans to scale the plant’s capacity to around 40 MW.
In its initial phase, the installation is composed of 14 modular units, each of them a shipping container converted from the same size to a full scale crypto mining data center. Each unit can accommodate up to 400 Bitmain S19 Pro miners.
In an official communiqué, the En + Group gave more information on the choice of the Irkutsk region and its apparent viability for low carbon solutions for cryptomite mining:
„Our energy assets in the [Irkutsk] region produce cheap, low-carbon electricity from renewable sources, and we can offer surplus energy to these partnerships. In addition, the low average annual temperature reduces the energy required by datacenters, making them more efficient and further minimizing their carbon footprint. ”
As published, high energy consumption remains a problem for the cryptomino sector, particularly for currencies such as Bitcoin, whose consensus algorithm is computationally intensive and therefore requires exceptionally high levels of energy to maintain.
Several energy experts have tried to reorient the energy debate around Bitcoin away from energy consumption. Instead, they focused on analyzing where this energy is produced and how it is generated, and argued that it is more important to ensure that less harmful choices are made at the power generation stage.
With financial and geopolitical actors now entering the final game of global climate policy, it remains to be seen to what extent making energy consumption in cryptomorphs greener, rather than aiming to reduce it, will be enough to make the sector truly sustainable.