In El Salvador, they want to do Bitcoin mining with geothermal energy from volcanoes.
This was reported by the president himself Nayib bukele, saying that he has instructed the president of the state power company to develop a plan to offer Bitcoin mining facilities with cheap, clean, renewable energy and zero emissions.
In fact, two volcanoes are located in the territory of the state of El Salvador, since the country is within the so-called ‘fire belt’, a very long strip of volcanoes that surrounds the Pacific Ocean.
In the vicinity of these volcanoes, there is a lot of underground heat, which the state power company uses to generate electricity.
Bitcoin mining in El Salvador
Currently, up to 25% of the country's total electricity production comes from this source, which makes El Salvador a one of the top ten producers of geothermal energy in the world.
It has two 5 MWe power plants, one in operation since 1992 and another since 1975.
Geothermal energy extracted from the heat of the earth is clean, renewable and generates almost no harmful emissions. It is also particularly inexpensive, especially if consumed locally.
As the pollution caused by the high energy consumption of bitcoin mining around the world is a matter of concern for many, the solution proposed by the president of El Salvador could help to that mining is less polluting, especially after bitcoin was declared legal tender in the country.
However, it is also true that the global energy consumption of Bitcoin mining is several orders of magnitude higher than that of all of El Salvador's geothermal electricity production. At the moment, this is just a drop in the bucket, but as the country's decisions seem to be setting an example for other countries, it could be that they could initiate a cascading effect that could lead to a sharp increase in the use of renewable energy for Bitcoin mining.
It is worth mentioning that the energy consumption of Bitcoin is variable, and does not necessarily have to be high, so there would be no real obstacle to, for example, simply prohibit the use of non-renewable sources for this type of activity. Therefore, the solution to the energy problem of Bitcoin passes through replace non-renewable sources with clean ones.