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AI and Crypto Mining to More Than Double Energy Use by 2026, Report Says

The International Energy Agency (IEA) foresees significant rises in energy consumption attributed to crypto mining and artificial intelligence (AI) in the near future. Projections indicate a growth of over 30% by 2026.

The IEA’s Electricity 2024 report presents expectations for increased energy usage until 2026. It emphasizes that power generation, including for crypto mining, remains a significant contributor to carbon emissions. However, it is also at the forefront of the shift towards achieving net-zero emissions.

Simultaneously, the report predicts that renewable energy sources will become the predominant power providers by 2025.

The report further highlights that energy consumption from data centers, AI, and crypto mining facilities might exceed 1,000 terawatt-hours (TWh), more than doubling within the specified timeframe.

Crypto mining predicted to use as much electricity as Japan

Regarding AI, the report indicates that this expanding sector is poised to witness a tenfold surge in power consumption between 2023 and 2026. Notably, large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT are expected to account for nearly 10 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually.

The escalation in energy usage due to crypto and associated activities is forecasted to reach a level equivalent to Japan’s total electricity consumption.

In 2023, Bitcoin mining alone consumed 120 TWh, marking an increase from the 110 TWh consumed in 2022.

While acknowledging that crypto mining represents a relatively small fraction of global energy consumption, the report raises concerns about the challenges involved in reducing electricity usage.

According to the IEA’s predictions, crypto mining will consume approximately 160 TWh by the year 2026.

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