In a fresh analysis focusing on Bitcoin and its alignment with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, the ‘Big Four’ accounting titan KPMG delves into the digital currency’s promising contributions to this movement. The professional services entity highlights four carbon-reduction techniques adopted by bitcoin mining firms across the entire mining sector.
KPMG Report Discusses Bitcoin and ESG Standards
KPMG’s analysis describes how bitcoin (BTC) miners, seeking proximity to inexpensive renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, reduce costs. This practice creates additional revenue to support more renewable energy projects in remote areas. The flexible computing load of bitcoin can also assist in balancing electrical grids by cutting demand during peak periods. KPMG researchers detail how bitcoin miners used a demand response system to aid Texas during a winter storm in 2021. The report states:
During Winter Storm Uri, which took place in Texas in February 2021, and saw temperatures get down as low as -14 degrees, bitcoin miners in Texas were able to curtail their energy consumption which resulted in approximately 1,500 megawatts being given back to the grid.
The study emphasizes that some miners are now recycling the intense heat generated by specialized bitcoin mining rigs to warm homes, buildings, and greenhouses. This process turns wasted heat into beneficial thermal energy, replacing more carbon-intensive heating fuels. Additionally, KPMG highlights ventures such as Crusoe Energy, which captures flared natural gas from oil fields to power modular bitcoin mining data centers. This practice reduces the emission of methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas. Other startups are mining bitcoin at landfills, converting the released methane into valuable electricity.
KPMG estimates that flared gas emissions from U.S. and Canadian oil production alone could sustain the entire bitcoin network. With landfills accounting for more than 14% of U.S. methane emissions, utilizing this waste methane for mining could significantly reduce the world’s carbon footprint.
To capitalize on these emissions-reducing strategies, KPMG recommends that bitcoin mining companies actively work with renewable energy developers, grid operators, gas producers, and landfill managers. Joining industry groups that promote energy and materials stewardship practices can also aid miners in adopting cleaner technologies. While bitcoin mining’s significant energy consumption often sparks environmental worries, KPMG contends that carefully locating facilities near energy waste streams and engaging in participatory grid management can counterbalance related emissions.
With proactive partnerships and innovation, KPMG’s report underscores that bitcoin mining could contribute significantly to “Net Zero” or “Carbon Neutrality” ambitions. However, KPMG observes that realizing bitcoin’s potential for reducing carbon emissions necessitates mining companies taking responsibility for their effects. Openly disclosing energy sourcing, emissions profiles, and sustainability strategies will further foster confidence in the bitcoin ecosystem’s dedication to minimizing the world’s carbon footprints.