©Albert Jan Rasker
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Can we use our (sustainably generated) energy for any purpose? The discussion about this flares up every now and then. According to many people, building wind turbines for the data centers of Facebook or Google is not OK. Where the data centers should be located and what energy they should be allowed to use, opponents usually do not say. According to the environmental lobby, misusing computational power to mine bitcoins is, of course, completely wrong, given that cryptocurrencies are an outright waste.

Where once upon a time electricity used to come out of the wall socket in unlimited quantities, nowadays it seems that an ethical committee must first decide who is allowed to use what and when. This will remain the case until (as our columnist ‘electric’ Auke Hoekstra once predicted) we are all living in an energy glut.

You need a lantern (or should we say squeeze torch) to look for those headstrong inventors who nevertheless keep trying. The Italian mayor Daniele Graziadei is one such person. He converted a disused hydropower plant in his town into a supercomputer for mining cryptocurrencies. Without harming the environment! Ewout Kieckens spoke to this energy rebel for Innovation Origins.

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