EIA Launches ‘Emergency Survey’ on Crypto Mining’s Power Use Amid Concerns of Alleged ‘Public Harm’

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has gained clearance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to conduct an urgent survey regarding electricity usage by cryptocurrency mining firms across the U.S. The EIA submitted this request on the grounds that “public harm is reasonably likely” should standard operations persist.

Biden’s OMB Approves EIA’s Emergency Survey on Crypto Mining Energy Impact

The Biden administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has greenlit the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. government to initiate a survey among mining enterprises. Starting next week, the EIA aims to gather information from specified commercial crypto mining companies, mandating their cooperation in disclosing energy consumption details. The authorization for this emergency data collection request was granted by the OMB on Jan. 26, 2024. Additionally, the EIA plans to invite public feedback regarding the data gathering on the energy usage of cryptocurrency miners.

“We intend to continue to analyze and write about the energy implications of cryptocurrency mining activities in the United States,” Joe DeCarolis, the EIA administrator said. “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.”

The justification for the approval presents a compelling case, with the EIA highlighting that “public harm is reasonably likely” should the current course remain unaltered.

“As evidence, the price of bitcoin has increased roughly 50% in the last three months, and higher prices incentivize more crypto mining activity, which in turn increases electricity consumption,” the reasoning behind the emergency request notes. “At the time of this writing, much of the central United States is in the grip of a major cold snap that has resulted in high electricity demand.”

Furthermore, the request elaborates:

The combined effects of increased crypto mining and stressed electricity systems create heightened uncertainty in electric power markets, which could result in demand peaks that affect system operations and consumer prices, as happened in Plattsburgh, New York in 2018.

Glenn McGrath, an EIA spokesperson conveyed to Reuters that the request is warranted. “We do think it is a significant source of demand which is worthy of our efforts to quantify it,” McGrath said. “However, until we are able to substantiate the activity with better data, we, too, have more questions than answers.”

Source: Bitcoin

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