TWEETSTORM is an occasional feature on where we share threads, mostly from Twitter, that we think deserve a wider audience, some are informative, some educational, some amusing and others yet are controversial...we dig these out for you so you don't have to!

Daniel Batten@DSBatten

Almost all attacks on Bitcoin energy usage stem from one simple failure of human reasoning:

The assumption:

More consumption of energy = bad

Less consumption = good

Like most things, the truth is more nuanced than this.

Here's how it really works...

First, some context to reassure you I'm not trying to dupe you with false logic or greenwash

When it comes to generation of power, would we say More generation of energy = bad Less generation = good?

I think we'd agree "Hang on mate. It depends on the type of generation."

Daniel Batten@DSBatten

And you'd be correct to say that.

Similarly, is it not possible that the type of consumer matters to whether it is "bad" or "good?"

Should we not at least entertain this possibility, even grudgingly, in case we reach too hasty a conclusion?

Daniel Batten@DSBatten

OK, you're still here. Thanks for keeping an open mind. Here's 3 things I'd like you to consider

1. For a renewable revolution to occur, the grid needs to generate 3x more power.

This is documented in Saul Griffith's book "Electrify Everything". This requires 3x the power demand

2. Introducing "Demand response": this is grid-jargon which means "a consumer who can flexibly respond to grid need by changing their demand"

The IEA (International Energy Association) states that to meet Net Zero Emission targets, we need to 10x our "demand response" by 2030


Daniel Batten@DSBatten

Examples of consumers who can do this include

- Steel plants (for <3 hours until steel starts to harden)

- EV owners (as long as they "play nice" and charge their cars offpeak

- Bitcoin mining (as long as they play nice and respond to grid operators requests to curtail)

Daniel Batten@DSBatten

Pumped hydro is a great option in some locations

Justin Orkney, a Lead Analyst at Duke recently explained on a podcast with Troy Cross "What you want as a grid owner is fewer customers who have no flexibility, who will cause additional infrastructure expense to accommodate...

...but more customers who are flexible, who cooperate with grid owners to help keep the grid stable, and who won't cause you to have to upgrade the grid to cope with the way they use energy." (Because they use it at times or in places that mean more grid infrastructure is needed)

Daniel Batten@DSBatten

So how are Bitcoin miners doing as a flexible demand response customer?

Well, let's look at two recent times when grid stability was tested.

Winter Storms in Texas ---> Bitcoin Miners shut off

Summer peak demand in Texas ---> BTC miners shut off

So far they are doing well.

Daniel Batten@DSBatten

It is not disputed by energy engineers, climate scientists or renewable operators that we need to electrify everything + increasing demand response by 10x to meet the challenges of the renewable transition

The only ones who dispute this are those who dispute climate change

Daniel Batten@DSBatten

So is it really such desperate, psychopathic, self-interested, disingenuous, insane greenwash to suggest that we should evaluate whether Bitcoin mining could be one type of demand response customers that would help to assist with the transition to the renewable grid?

Daniel Batten@DSBatten

So in summary, I'd suggest we shift our thinking:

"More carbon-neutral energy generation is good" + "More highly flexible consumers of energy who support the renewable build out and play nice with other consumers = good"

It's still not a perfect formula. But less imperfect.


Bitcoin has potential to be this sort of demand response consumer because it uses a very energy-intensive algorithm called "Proof of Work".

Daniel Batten (@DSBatten)
So in summary, I’d suggest we shift our thinking: “More carbon-neutral energy generation is good” + “More highly flexible consumers of energy who support the renewable buildout and play nice with other consumers = good” It’s still not a perfect formula. But less imperfect.

We publish daily doses of decentralization news every day and update on Mastodon, Twitter, Telegram and Element (Matrix). Please like & share our output. We rely on you for content, so why not write for us. We welcome sponsorship and donations to help us continue our work - all major cryptos accepted or buy us a coffee. Contact us at - many thanks for all donations received, much appreciated.
Share this post