A Norwegian town is using whatever means to prevent “energy-sucking” Bitcoin miners from expanding, citing noise and energy concerns.
Noise is the latest form of energy FUD surrounding Bitcoin (BTC). Locals in the Norwegian municipality of Sortland are fighting back against the spread of Bitcoin miners. The loudness of proof-of-work (PoW) mining is their most recent point of contention.
Bitcoin miners in Sortland must operate in silence, using only renewable energy sources, supporting local companies, and even reusing waste heat from the PoW process to dry wood and seaweed.
The CEO of local KryptoVault, Kjetil Hove Pettersen, indicated that it might be another instance of media manipulation directed towards Bitcoin.
“It is usually the negative voices that get the most media attention; this does not reflect on all local opinions.”
As Bitcoin miners help to balance grids (as was recently demonstrated in Texas), grid owners are actually delighted to host them, according to Pettersen, who also noted that “there is a political or social cost for being outspoken about that in today’s context.” According to Pettersen, the misleading narratives that the media produce are nothing new.
“[…] The narrative that we are suppressing other industry establishments by using (the skeptics use the word “wasting”) so much energy, while in fact, the opposite is true. Sometimes we are accused of driving up the energy price, which also is not true.”
In the north of Norway, where Sortland is situated, energy costs are quite cheap, and stranded hydropower is actually abundant, according to Arcane Research analyst Jaran Mellerud “Northern Norway has a massive electricity surplus due to little local demand and limited transmission capacity.”.
In addition to creating jobs, decreasing grid fees for consumers, increasing revenue for local municipalities’ power grids while maintaining grid balance, earning money for the Norwegian treasury because Bitcoin miners pay taxes, and finally assisting with Norway’s national trade balance were some of Pettersen’s benefits of Bitcoin mining. Without discussing the immediate result of Bitcoin mining, which secures the biggest cryptocurrency in the world.
Pettersen acknowledged that there is “a lot of work to be done in telling our story and clearing myths and misconceptions,” for the Bitcoin sector. Although Bitcoin is a lifeline for many people around the world, especially in the global south, the myth that it consumes more energy than its neighbor Finland continues to dominate mainstream media coverage.
For Mellerud, it’s a matter of storytelling and storylines, much like Pettersen. “Municipalities in northern Norway should appreciate Bitcoin mining as a way to refine the electricity locally,” he says, summarizing it bluntly. He went on:
Bitcoin mining facilities create local jobs and increase the income for the municipalities as they often own the local power-generating companies.”
Sadly, stories that paint Bitcoin mining and energy use as evil keep getting attention. Noise might come next.