US authorities speak out against Bitcoin powerhouse

ALBANY, NY – New York state authorities on Thursday denied a required license extension for a Bitcoin power plant, saying it posed a threat to the state’s climate goals.

The licensing decision is another example of New York putting a damper on the cryptocurrency frenzy that has alarmed environmentalists. It also comes at a time when cryptocurrency prices have tumbled, wiping out fortunes, fueling skepticism and prompting calls for closer scrutiny.

The state licensing decision affected bitcoin mining company Greenidge Generation, a former coal-fired power plant on Seneca Lake that had previously been shut down but recently converted from coal to natural gas. She started mining bitcoin in earnest in 2020.

Much of the electricity produced by the facility is now used to power more than 15,000 bitcoin mining computer servers, which consumes massive amounts of electricity.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) opposed the renewals, saying the facility’s conversion into a cryptocurrency mining operation meant it would require significant new energy “for an entirely new purpose unrelated to its original approval.” has to do”.

“Rather than helping meet the state’s current electricity needs as originally described, the facility will operate primarily to meet its own significant new energy load,” the agency said in its letter to the company.

The company said it will continue to operate under its current license and is appealing the decision. She claimed there was “no credible legal basis” for the rejection.

“It’s absurd for anyone to look at these facts and rationally claim that extending this particular permit — for a facility that represents a small fraction of the state’s electricity-generating capacity — would hinder long-term climate goals.” from New York. It just wouldn’t,” the company said.

Climate activists, who see Greenidge as a tried and tested example, had called on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration to refuse to renew the plant’s air quality permit and block similar projects.

The move comes as Ms. Hochul is deciding whether to sign a two-year moratorium on new operating licenses for fossil-fuel power plants used for proof-of-work mining, a term for the computer process that records and secures transactions in bitcoin and other similar forms of digital currency.

Greenidge is not affected by this moratorium, the first of its kind to cover new applications.

New York has attracted a number of companies that need low-cost electricity to power the vast computer networks needed for energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining.

Greenidge said that even with the plant at full capacity, the potential emissions equated to 0.23% of the state’s 2030 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as forestry programs and projects that capture methane from landfills.

Environmentalists were happy about the rejection. “Governor Hochul and the DEC have stood by the science and public and sent a message to outside speculators: New York State’s old fossil fuel power plants are not yours to reclaim as bitcoin mining cancers in our communities open,” said Seneca Lake Guardian advocacy vice president of the organization Yvonne Taylor.

Leave a Comment