U.S. Senator Ted Cruz believes The United States should be using natural gas to mine Bitcoin instead of flaring it.
Speaking during the Oct. 8 Texas Blockchain Summit, Senator Cruz asserted that Bitcoin mining can be used to monetize energy created through oil and gas extraction rather than burning it, arguing that there is “enormous opportunity for Bitcoin […] to capture that gas instead of wasting it.”
According to a transcription of the talk shared to social media by Coin Metrics founder Nic Carter, Cruz noted that half of the natural gas flared in the country is currently being burned in West Texas. “It’s being wasted because there is no transmission equipment to get that natural gas where it could be used the way natural gas would ordinarily be employed,” he added.
“Use that power to mine Bitcoin. Part of the beauty of that is the instant you’re doing it you’re helping the environment enormously because rather than flaring the natural gas you’re putting it to productive use.”
Cruz emphasized the capacity for Bitcoin mining to be mobilized reflexively in response to fluctuating energy supply, stating that energy could be immediately returned to the grid in the event of a sudden power outage or shortage.
“In five years I expect to see a dramatically different terrain with Bitcoin mining playing a significant role in strengthening and hardening the resilience of the grid,” he added.
Cruz noted that Bitcoin can be used to capture unutilized energy across the globe, arguing: “There are a lot of places on Earth where the sun shines a lot and the wind blows a lot but there aren’t any power lines and it’s not economically feasible to use that energy.”
“The beauty of Bitcoin mining is that if you can connect to the internet, you can use that energy and derive value from those renewables in a way that would be impossible otherwise.”
Cruz is not alone in believing Bitcoin mining could offer an efficient means to capture renewable energy, with El Salvador recently announcing plans for a state-backed Bitcoin mining project powered by renewables.
Related: Bitcoin’s power consumption this year has already surpassed all of 2020’s
Bitcoin mining has become a key industry for the state of Texas following China’s May crackdown on industrial Bitcoin mining firms.
Many miners turned to Texas for its cheap and abundant renewables, while others looked to Kazakhstan, Norway, and Canada to access inexpensive green electricity.