During the House hearing on Crypto’s energy use and impact, there was a point of opposition in the form of “number of jobs per unit of electricity consumed.” I’m not fazed by the question – I think there’s a good question to ask in terms of our understanding of where our energy goes somewhere in there, and maybe there’s a some validity to comparing it to our employment numbers, I don’t know. But to better understand this kind of thinking, I wanted to look into comparing the energy consumption of one of our favorite companies here in the United States.
I chose to look at Microsoft (MSFT). On some quick napkin math, I looked at Microsoft’s 2019 employment numbers (144,000), as I could only find data on their energy consumption from 2019.
Total energy consumption in 2019, thanks to Microsoft’s 2019 Environmental Sustainability Fact Sheet, is just over 9.2 million megawatt hours (MWh). That is 9,200 gigawatt hours (GWh), or 9.2 terawatt hours (TWh).
Before trying to examine the conversation about energy use and moralizing, a brief contribution from the American Geosciences Institute:
“The amount of electricity a power station generates over a period of time depends on how long it operates at a specific capacity. For example, if the RE Ginna reactor operates at 582 MW capacity for 24 hours, it will generate 13,968 megawatt hours (MWh).
The largest nuclear reactor in the world as of January 2020 is in Japan. Tokyo’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactor has a net capacity of just under 8,000 MW, so for the sake of conversation we’ll just use that nice round number. To get our measure of MWh so we can compare production to consumption, let’s do the math:
8,000 MW output x 24 hours = 192,000 MWh
Now we need to get the annual potential production, this metric will not necessarily be reliable because nuclear weapons cannot operate perpetually. There is very extensive maintenance along the way to ensure that all safety and regulatory guidelines are met. But we are talking about hypotheses here:
192,000 MWh x 365 days = 70,080,000 MWh per year
According to Power-technology.com, this plant produces enough energy to power 16 million homes.
Here, Microsoft consumes almost 13% of this relative production for itself. And if we wanted to follow the line of thinking around “number of jobs per unit of electricity consumed”, we would get a number that would look like:
9.2 million MWh / 144,000 employees = 63.9 MWh per employee
According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average household consumes 10,715 kWh per year, or 893 kWh per month.
Alright… now my math may be wrong here, so check me out. But according to my brain, that means Microsoft’s energy consumption per employee is equivalent to that of about 4,000 homes each.
Is this really a metric Bitcoin opponents really want to use to try and oppose network and asset support?
Both Microsoft and Bitcoin provide massive services to tens of millions of people around the world: from facilitating digital communications and operations, to securing purchasing power, and providing functionality for cross-border payments and finality. regulations that are leaps and bounds improved from the current standard. .
As a former artist, and an academic by passion, all I ask is this:
Can we please criticize from honest, equal and fair grounds?
Can Bitcoin’s opponents throw hypocrisy and ignorance out the window?
This is a guest post by Mike Hobart and Tyler Bain. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.