Genuine question; How does the Bitcoin / POW power consumption debate end?

This is not a debate about POS Vs POW rather I’m genuinely interested in understanding how the power consumption discussion of POW blockchains could end.

First thing that is not very clear to me (excluding the complexity dimension) is: do POW blockchains power needs just keep on increasing over time or do we reach some kind of plateau at some point? How would that work for Bitcoin for example?

I thought that improving the chip efficiency would be would be a good solution but this would simply result in increased hash rates and thus complexity and then again power consumption.

Of course miners could continue to increase their energy source to renewable energy but even if they reach 100% renewable energy POW or Bitcoin detractors would say “there are better ways of using that energy”

Would layers like lightning help address the issue over time?

Tl;dr how to answer POW / Bitcoin detractor on the power consumption question.

PS: I asked the question on the Cryptocurrency sub here but I could not any clear or constructive answer.

submitted by /u/wiptheman
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