Bitcoin is a digital currency. Whether that is a good thing or not is beside the point. What is important is that as a creature of the digital world, it relies on servers powered by electricity for its existence — a lot of them. Even though the use of renewable energy has surged in the past decade, the majority of electricity today still comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal. That means the digital world we have created — all our cell phones, streaming TV, video games, internet of things, and yes, bitcoin — creates lots of carbon emissions.
According to the BBC, the carbon footprint of our gadgets, the internet, and the systems supporting them account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions — about the same as the airline industry. But the problem is expanding. Mike Hazas, a researcher at Lancaster University, tells the BBC emissions from digital devices are expected to double by 2025.
Bitcoin goes beyond being a digital currency, though. It’s extra energy intensive on purpose — bitcoin mining is supposed to be hard and costly.
In March, Tesla shocked the world when it said it would begin allowing customers to pay for their cars using bitcoin. 6 weeks later, the company reversed course and stopped accepting bitcoin for purchases. In a statement, Elon Musk said, “Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using bitcoin. We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.
“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment. Tesla will not be selling any bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to a more sustainable energy. We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of bitcoin’s energy/transaction.”
But now it appears Tesla and Musk have rethought their position. On Wednesday, Musk told a “B Word” conference that Tesla will most likely start accepting bitcoin again.
“I wanted a little bit more due diligence to confirm that the percentage of renewable energy usage is most likely at or above 50%, and that there is a trend towards increasing that number, and if so, Tesla would resume accepting bitcoin. Most likely the answer is that Tesla would resume accepting bitcoin. Tesla’s mission is accelerating the advent of sustainable energy. We can’t be the company that does that and also not do appropriate diligence on the energy usage of bitcoin.”
Editor’s note: The issue isn’t ONLY what type of power plant powers miners. Every serious/decent/real plan showing how we can get the climate crisis under control indicates that we need to massively reduce energy use while we quickly scale of renewable energy projects. Bitcoin drives us in the opposite direction, as it’s extremely, ridiculous, insanely energy intensive. Jacking up energy demand means that the solar panels and wind turbines we feverishly produce will be used to satisfy increasing energy demand more than to retire fossil fuel power plants. It’s just not a good idea.
Musk added that he personally owns bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin, separate and apart from the bitcoin that Tesla and SpaceX own. “I might pump, but I don’t dump,” Musk said. “I definitely do not believe in getting the price high and selling. I would like to see bitcoin succeed.”
Ford Mustang Mach-E to lose EV tax credit
If you are thinking about buying Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E, you may want to do so before the end of the year. Ford expects the Mach-E will no longer qualify for the federal EV tax credit.
Ford Mach-E will no longer qualify for the EV tax credit
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is due for drastric changes at the end of the year that will affect which EVs will qualify for the tax credit.
Starting on January 1, more restrictions will be put into place. EVs with battery components from a “foreign entity of concern,” including China will lose a portion of the tax credit.
In 2025, the rules will get even tighter. The changes are designed to promote manufacturing in the US while building up a reliable EV supply chain network.
Ford expects to be among several automakers with EVs losing access. Tesla has already said its Model 3 RWD and Long Range will lose $3,750, starting January 1. Meanwhile, it will still qualify for the other $3,750.
In a bulletin sent to dealers (via CarsDirect), Ford said it expects the changes to impact the Mustang Mach-E. Although Ford is “awaiting finalized requirements,” given what we know, “it is unlikely that any Mustang Mach-Es will qualify” beginning the first of the year.
The company didn’t explain why the Mach-E will no longer qualify for the EV tax credit, but it’s likely due to the CATL-supplied LFP batteries.
Qualified customers are still eligible for a $3,750 credit, “making this an excellent motivator to purchase before the end of the year,” Ford added.
Shoppers can still take advantage of the full $7,500 tax credit through leasing. Meanwhile, Ford didn’t indicate the Lightning would be impacted by the changes.
Ford’s electric truck had its best sales month ever in November. All F-150 Lightning trims, except the Platinum version, qualify for up to $7,500 in savings. The Platinum model is excluded as it exceeds the IRA’s $80K cutoff.
Ready to make a move and save on Ford’s electric vehicles while you still can? You can use our links below to find great deals at a dealership near you today.
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The US’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm delivers its first power
New York’s South Fork Wind has become the first utility-scale offshore wind farm to generate power in the US.
The first operational wind turbine at South Fork Wind sent clean power to Long Island today. The project has completed the installation of two turbines around 35 miles off Montauk, with all 12 SG 11-200 DD Siemens Gamesa turbines expected to be installed by early 2024.
The energy produced is being sold to the Long Island Power Authority under the terms of a 20-year agreement.
Stephanie McClellan, executive director at offshore wind nonprofit Turn Forward, said:
The generation of power from South Fork Wind is an incredible moment in the American clean energy story and for the Long Island communities that will benefit from this project for decades to come.
The 130-megawatt (MW) South Fork Wind will be the US’s first completed utility-scale wind farm in federal waters.
Danish renewables giant Ørsted is jointly developing the offshore wind farm with Boston-based energy provider Eversource. South Fork Wind’s first offshore wind turbine foundation was installed at the end of June, and its first US-built offshore substation was completed at the end of July.
South Fork Wind will produce enough clean energy to power 70,000 homes in New York. It will deliver clean energy directly to the electric grid in East Hampton via a single transmission line installed in March.
It will eliminate up to 6 million tons of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road annually over a 25-year period.
Photo: South Fork Wind
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U.S. crude drops below $70 per barrel, gas prices fall to 11-month low
Gas prices at a Shell gas station in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.S. crude declined nearly 4% on Wednesday with retail gasoline prices hitting the lowest point since January ahead of the holiday shopping and travel season.
U.S. crude and the global benchmark have hit their lowest levels since June, despite efforts by OPEC+ to boost prices by promising to slash supply in the first quarter of 2024.
Prices at the pump in the U.S., meanwhile, have followed oil prices lower to hit $3.22 a gallon on average as of Wednesday, the lowest price since Jan. 3, according to AAA.
Oil prices have been on a steep downward trajectory from September highs as nations outside OPEC+, particularly the U.S., pump crude at breakneck clip and worries grow about the Chinese economy.
Moody’s on Tuesday downgraded its outlook for China’s government credit raging to negative from stable.
U.S. crude inventories fell by 4.6 million barrels for the week ending Dec. 1 and gasoline supplied to the market increased by 260,000 barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Agency.
Falling inventories and rising gasoline deliveries implies higher demand, which would typically boost oil prices. Pessimism about the economic outlook in China, however, appeared to be weighing heavier on crude prices.
Oil traders have also been skeptical OPEC+, which includes OPEC members and its allies like Russia, will deliver on supply cuts of 2.2 million bpd in the first quarter next year.
Several OPEC+ members announced the voluntary cuts last week after the group failed to reach a unanimous agreement on production targets.
Saudi Energy Minister Price Abdulaziz bin Salman and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak sough to assure the market this week that they could extend or even deepen the promised cuts.
Tamas Varga, an analyst with PVM Oil Associates, said those reassurances have “fallen to deaf ears.”
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