During the Twitter space interview that was hosted by Nic Carter of Castle Island Ventures and Coin Metrics yesterday, the President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele was asked a question about how he intends to make mining cleaner and although he mentioned he had not thought about it up until the interview, he already came up with a solution. Volcano-powered mining!
Bukele is currently calling for a geothermal power company to make certain facilities available to Bitcoin miners.
In a tweet yesterday, the president said he would be instructing Mynor Gil, the president of the state-owned electrical company LaGeo, to facilitate Bitcoin (BTC) mining. He termed it, “with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy” from the country’s volcanoes. The firm operates the only two geothermal power plants in El Salvador based in the regions of Ahuachapán and Berlín, with announced plans to construct new facilities in San Vicente and Chinameca.
Most of El Salvador’s energy comes from renewable energy. With a geothermal power installed capacity, the country is home to 23 active volcanoes, of more than 200 Megawatts (MW). However, reports suggest that El Salvador’s geothermal power potential is closer to 644 MW, meaning LaGeo is only using roughly 31% of the power generation possible. According to data from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Bitcoin uses more than 116.7 terawatt-hours of electricity per year.
This mining solution is only part of a long list of pro-crypto actions the President has taken over the last several days. At the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami last weekend, the El Salvador president told attendees via a recorded message that he would be introducing a bill to make Bitcoin legal tender in the country. This proposal passed with a supermajority in the nation’s Legislative Assembly yesterday.
Why this matters
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk raised an alarm about the environmental concerns surrounding bitcoin mining and he stopped accepting the flagship cryptocurrency as a means of payment. After MicroStrategy CEO, Michael Saylor, along with Elon Musk and other Bitcoin miners in the western hemisphere of the United States formed the mining council committed to making sure the carbon footprint of Bitcoin is completely reduced, miners have been looking for ways to start mining with clean energy and El Salvador creates that opportunity.
Also, mining companies that have been banned in China can see this as an opportunity to set up shop in El Salvador.
At press time, Bitcoin was trading at $36,800, up 7.5% for the day.