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The electricity footprint per bitcoin transaction can range from 491.4 kilowatts per hour (k Wh) to 765.4 k Wh.The banking industry, on the other hand, is processing an exponentially greater number of digital transactions, with the average electricity footprint for these transactions reaching 0.4 k Wh at most.
room of Scatec Solar in Cape Town Johan Badenhorst gazes at the six monitors on the wall.
March was the worst-ever month for load-shedding, when Eskom regularly took 4,000-megawatts (Further failures could have severe consequences.
“Eskom is the greatest systemic risk to the South African economy,” says Colin Coleman, the boss for sub-Saharan Africa of Goldman Sachs, a bank.
In fact, rather than producing the low carbon footprint of hydroelectric power, the carbon footprint of electricity purchased in Sichuan is more on par with that of natural gas.
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Finally, de Vries identifies the e-waste generated by the regular turnover of mining machines as new, more efficient ones become available, as a major source of environmental concern.
Problems are rare, says Mr Badenhorst, Scatec’s senior control officer, before correcting himself: once a bird dropped a tortoise on a solar panel, smashing the glass.
Such issues, while upsetting for tortoises, are minor compared with those faced by Eskom, the state-owned utility that supplies 95% of South Africa’s electricity.
In February the Treasury announced a 69bn rand bail-out. “There is a real risk of financial meltdown,” says Anton Eberhard, who advises President Cyril Ramaphosa on energy. Between the 1960s and 1990s the apartheid government built big and dirty power stations hoping cheap electricity would spark industrialisation.
The president, who took over from Jacob Zuma last year, is standing in elections on May 8th. After white rule ended in 1994 the African National Congress () had Eskom provide power to the more than two-thirds of black households that lacked electricity, one of the fastest electrification projects in history.