Will Bitcoin, Data Centers, and Cannabis Risk US Climate Goals?

"US energy use has been flat. But new industries are forcing a boost in utility forecasts for demand, potentially harming efforts to cut emissions."

"The United States is facing a new energy crisis — one that could make the climate crisis even worse.

After more than 30 years of falling or flat demand for electricity, electric utilities are forecasting the nation will need the equivalent of about 34 new nuclear plants, or 38 gigawatts, over the next five years to supply power for data centers, electrification and new industry, according to filings made to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and compiled by Grid Strategies.

Since those reports, several utilities have further increased their near-term forecasts.

And those estimates don’t necessarily include the growth of hard-to-track, but energy-hogging crypto currency or cannabis farming, which are estimated to be using up to 2.3% and 1%, respectively, of the nation’s electricity. Energy demand in these industries has skyrocketed as the popularity of crypto currency and the legalization of marijuana have spread."

Pam Radtke ands Kristi E. Swartz report for Floodlight March 19, 2024.

Source: Floodlight, 04/04/2024