Musk Drops Support for Bitcoin, Citing Energy, Climate Concern

May 13, 2021

Musk realization that Tesla’s environmental credentials are much more important than Bitcoin to future gains.
Dogecoin, that’s another story.


Bitcoin recovered about half of its losses on Thursday, a day after plunging 17% when Tesla boss Elon Musk said his company (TSLA.O) would stop accepting the digital tokens as payment for its cars. read more 

The price of the world’s largest cryptocurrency rose back up to around $49,808 at 1150 GMT. On Wednesday it had dropped from around $54,819 to $45,700, its lowest since March 1, in just under two hours following Musk’s tweet.

Ether , the second-largest cryptocurrency, which had dropped 14% to a low of $3,550, rose above $4,000 before dipping back to around $3,750.

An announcement by Tesla on Feb. 8 that it had bought $1.5 billion of bitcoin and that it would accept it as payment for its electric vehicles has been one factor behind its surging price this year. 

But Tesla Chief Executive Musk has faced pressure about the environmental impact of bitcoin since the announcement. The cryptocurrency relies on computers competing to solve elaborate maths problems, which uses huge amounts of electricity.

“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,” Musk tweeted.

Musk’s comments roiled markets even though he said Tesla would not sell any bitcoin and would resume accepting it as soon as “mining” for it transitioned to more sustainable energy.

In a second tweet on Thursday, Musk denounced the “insane” amount of energy used to produce bitcoin, which momentarily pushed bitcoin lower.

Below, expert:
“The incentive is for Bitcoin miners to go to renewable power.”

13 Responses to “Musk Drops Support for Bitcoin, Citing Energy, Climate Concern”

  1. He ought to support nuclear energy which could actually supply plenty of juice for his electric cars. He should move away from solar PVs which require fracked gas backup which could be better put to use for his SpaceX raptor engines.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      Such truthiness. I would have installed PV on my rooftop, but I had no room to locate the fracked gas backup generator. Weird how nobody tells you in advance.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      If China, which has the lowest practical barrier to entry, doesn’t embrace a lot of nuclear power, why should anyone else? What do you know that they don’t know? They’re at parity with the US/West with respect to tech and way ahead in terms of social overhead.

      There is a glut of natural gas-fired power plants, because solar+storage has been found to be more cost-effective. Gas power plants are being retired before their rated end of life because as coal plants were retired the “conventional wisdom” expected gas to replace them and there was a spike in construction.

      The main cost driver of a fossil fuel peaker plant is that in order to meet peak demand, it needs to be fully manned and in operation 24/7. The PEAK coalition reported that in the past decade, peaker plants cost ratepayers an estimated $4.5 billion just to be on standby, and are utilized for only a few hundred hours a year.

      Gas peakers are relatively cheap to build but costly to run while battery facilities are (currently) more expensive to install but less less costly to run. Other changes that reduce peaks include (1) greater efficiency of heating and cooling, and (2) better time-shifting options of energy consumption.

      • neilrieck Says:

        FWIW, China is involved in every energy technology. But they run with 5 and 10 year plans which means that if they decide to stop using coal, it means that they stop new development of any technology that uses coal. But anything that is under construction is finished then put on line.

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        Last heard China was building 17 nukes, which equals embrace. Traditional peaker plants are are money sinks and very heavy GHG emitters. Batteries are great on several levels, including peaker, trivial at large storage.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        Gas is also being retired because it turns out wind and solar, especially when used together, require less gas backup than nukes, because nukes are so bad at following load, and when they try, lose even more money than they do already. With wind, solar, batteries and pumped storage*, there’s no need at all for gas. And then there’s hydro and geothermal.

        Wind, solar, and geothermal could each provide all the energy the world needs, many times over. Each one alone would cost less and use considerably less land than fuels currently wreck, and an optimal wind, sun, water and earth** system would cost and use even less. There are also many times more potential pumped storage sites in the world than humanity could ever use. There’s way more than enough battery material in the world for human needs, in fact a number of other battery chemistries are imminent, and several large lithium sites in the US are starting up now. So take a pill.

        * especially offshore wind with its much higher and still rising capacity factor; especially solar that includes CSP and clothesline energies;
        especially batteries and pumped storage together, so batteries can provide ancillary services and instantaneous ramp up, and pumped storage can provide longer term reserve power.
        ** ie, geothermal

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          There are also many times more potential pumped storage sites in the world than humanity could ever use.

          I’m going to push back on this a bit: I think you’re referring to a satellite-based study that looked for streams and terrain (i.e., surface contour) to determine whether the site would handle pumped storage. There are geological conditions (e.g., angled sedimentary layers, layers that fail when saturated with water, rock that is basically weak, otherwise strong rock that has faults) that have to be taken into account.

    • J4Zonian Says:

      The main backup solar requires is wind, and solar from different time zones. The main backup wind requires is solar and different wind. They’re both helped even more by hydro and geothermal. Batteries are nice, too, and pumped storage will be good when grids have a lot more clean safe renewable energy and need some.

      “solar PVs”?

      Why are you here spreading lies, canman?

      • Build some nuclear plants and all you need is a few gas plants to smooth things out and they’re likely already there. With wind and solar you need all kinds of extra stuff and there’s no guarantee that elsewhere wind is not going to be needed elsewhere.

        • J4Zonian Says:

          Why are you lying to push nukes?

          Why are you playing stupid? Or is it not an act?

          The fact that you have to lie to promote them reveals their inability to provide what humanity needs without endangering us all and the rest of life. So please do whatever it takes to figure out why you’re compelled to do this. Ditch the sources of your disinformation and find truthful sources. Take up meditation. Get into psychotherapy.

          So no, all you need with clean safe renewable energy is clean safe renewable energy and eventually, at very high percentage of variable CSRE, some storage. (Before that, batteries are valuable for providing ancillary services.) If some amount of THE WHOLE HOCKETED MIX of onshore and offshore wind, solar PV, (utility, rooftop, floating) 24/7 CSP, clothesline paradox energy, hydro, geothermal, tidal, eventually wave, OTEC, and very small amounts of biomass is not enough, then we reduce energy use more especially in targeted ways, increase efficiency, and/or build more of whatever will best meet the need.

          How can one be, or even worse, pretend to be, so flabbergastingly moronic as to not admit that?

        • J4Zonian Says:

          Not to mention the main thing wrong with that comment:

          Build some nukes? Why would we choose the most expensive source, when it’s too dangerous, too slow to build to be of any use in this crisis, inegalitarian, destructive of democracy, produces enormous waste problems for millennia, and has significant other problems?

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        Slight problem, there is buggar all hydro here, chronically short of water mostly, and no geothermal. A common situation among nations. Then one can overbuild solar so each time zone can run ( all? ) the country. Carpet the whole country with PV and it still produces nothing on non sunny days and most of the night. Every night. Build all the solar and wind you like and to hell with the cost. Still need massive backup and gas sucks.

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