The recent U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), order that mandates six-month mandatory reporting requirements for cryptocurrency mining is both a concern and an opportunity to the mining industry. The shallow emergency declaration, which is harsh and could be used to create a narrative against cryptocurrency, may compromise U.S. competition.



Tom Mapes, founder and president of Digital Energy Council is a former chief of staff of international affairs for the Department of Energy.

The EIA’s mandate is extremely broad, and it collects information on energy production and consumption. It can also target specific energy users and subgroups .

Leaders in the energy industry are keen to engage in a serious discussion about the role digital energy – the ability to transfer value created by energy anywhere in the globe – can and will have in strengthening the resilience and reliability of our infrastructure. As our aging infrastructure is challenged by storms and changes in usage, the nexus of crypto and energy markets becomes more and more important.


The EIA needs to work with the industry. It would be better to use the order to gather information that will fuel a false narrative than to gather data to feed the EIA.

The orders, as someone who has worked at the Department of Energy before (DOE), offer me some important opportunities. The majority of the mining industry agrees that the requests are political in nature. However, the EIA Act directs agencies on how to gather information for requests from Congress and other organizations. The questions asked are part of the standard data collection process, and they could be used to promote the adoption of an industry-wide uniform reporting framework.

Understanding the basic information on mining and energy usage can help utilities predict how much power will be needed or how much load-shedding mining operations are capable of undertaking during times when grid stress is present.

It is important to note that there are no words that state that confidential information of miners will be protected against FOIA requests. This was standard in prior EIA orders. There’s no confirmation that the data will be aggregated and anonymized. The survey can also be used to create a narrative against cryptocurrency, where energy providers are politically pressed into selecting winners and losers based on selective data and context collapse.

Opinion

The EIA needs to work with the industry. It would be better to use the order to assess whether load shedding by miners could positively impact our grid. This is especially true during winter storms or extended cold weather periods. This is what we highlight in our formal response to the EIA request for comments, due on April 9th. The EIA has also indicated that it wants to extend the reporting requirements by an additional three-year period.

We have a lot to say about our sector. In the past, we have deployed across the country facilities that are similar to those used for utility-scale storage. The EIA must understand how the sector plans to continue to increase the redundancy of the system. Ask about the opportunities that digital energy has to work with energy companies. This includes financing projects, entering into power purchase agreements, and providing consistent loads and spurring renewable technologies such as wind and solar.

Opinion

Further, the EIA should ask how digital energy is working with state and local governments to revitalize rural and small-town economies, including working directly with the government as a reuse opportunity for some of the half a million Brownfield sites throughout the country targeted for redevelopment (including repurposing coal plants). Or, how digital energy companies are partnering up with unions to provide training for their workforce to keep good-paying positions in local communities.