How Much Power Does Global Bitcoin Mining Use

With the vast amount of information available on the internet, I recently came across an unreferenced source saying that Bitcoin mining took up around 1% of total power generated globally. I was curious as to whether this was the case, but there were varying sources available.

Due to the different mining machines and the variability in wattage, it can be difficult to get look at the overall picture of mining and power.  figure of I looked up the overall electricity generated globally, and it was around 155 tera-watts (155 trillion watts). To get an idea of the overall power consumed by Bitcoin mining, we need to take the per second hashrate and divide it by the total Tera-hash rate generated by Bitcoin), and work that out to an average per machine and the overall estimated power, with the figures as follows:

Hashrate: 60,000,000THs

Global power consumption rate: 150,000,000,000,000

Terahash per Miner (S9 miners for illustrative purposes): 14THs

Wattage per S9: 1400Watts

The figures I ended up with was:

6,000,000,000,000 (Bitcoin mining wattage)/150,000,000,000,000(global power consumption)= 4.0%, which is suspiciously high in my rough figure.

There are sites abound that estimate the electricity used by mining via a percentage of mining revenue, which is an erroneous and inaccurate way to estimate power consumption. The same source paints a figure of around 0.16% of total global consumption, much lower that the originally posited figure of 1%.

Additionally, Marc Bevand made a detailed analysis of the above estimation here, and we can see that they are concluding that 0.16% is an over-estimation by 2-2.5x. The analysis used in this source was more comprehensive than mine, or the above (whereas the Powercompare one was erroneously calculating mining electricity costs off an absurdly high percentage of mining revenue).

In conclusion, we can say with some degree of certainty that Bitcoin mining takes up around 0.1% of the overall global energy consumption, which is still nothing to bawk at. The real question is, how much will this grow as Bitcoin takes on more popularity, and how will this impact on strategies dealing with global energy consumption.




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