Iceland Mag

6 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Business

Cryptocurrency miners consume more electricity than Icelandic households

By Staff

  • Pumping up bitcoins Geothermal borehole operated by the power utility HS Orka. Photo/Valli

Electricity consumption of data centers used to mine for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies electronic currencies has exceeded consumption by household consumers. Data centers have rapidly become some of the largest electricity consumers in Iceland. 

Read more: Iceland meets only 0.01% of it's electricity needs with fossil fuels, 99.99% from renewables

Iceland is seen as an appealing location for blockchain mining due to low electricity prices, the fact that all electricity is produced with renewable and green energy and low cooling costs for data centers. The cryptocurrency mining industry is centered on Reykjanes peninsula, near Keflavík Airport, where a number of data centers have been constructed in recent years.

The energy consumption of Icelandic homes is estimated at 700 gigawatt-hours, while bitcoin and other blockchain mining is estimated to consume 840 gigawatt hours. 

A green industry
A spokesman for the utility HS Orka told the local newspaper Fréttablaðið that recent weeks have seen a significant increase in the number of requests from foreign blockchain miners. Foreign media, including the Washington Post and BBC, have in recent days covered the blockchain mining industry in Iceland. HS Orka, which produces electricity from geothermal power on Reykjanes peninsula is one of the largest suppliers of electricity to the rapidly growing data center industry.

Blockchain mining has come under criticism in Iceland, due to the fact that the companies leave very little behind in terms of investment, pay little if any taxes and create very few jobs. Others have pointed out that unlike other energy intensive industry blockchain mining is pollution free.

Related content

Editor's Picks