“Significant Concerns” Over Greenidge Bitcoin Mining Plant

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  • A New York state environment regulator has stated that it has “significant concerns” over a Bitcoin mining power plant
  • Greenidge power plant mines Bitcoin as well as providing power to the Finger Lakes region
  • Its license is up for renewal, but it may not be awarded on environmental grounds

The head of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Basil Seggos, has told a local radio station that “significant concerns” remain over the feasibility of the Greenidge cryptocurrency mining plant. Greenidge, a former coal power station in Dresden built in 1937, was repurposed as a gas plant in 2016, with the owners, Atlas Holding LLC, mining Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash on the side. However, Seggos has cast doubt on the viability of the plant to fulfill its state’s statutory climate goals, with the decision to be ruled on in June.

Greenidge Faces “Uphill Battle” to be Legal

Greenidge is an example of a growing trend where energy generation companies use excess energy or a small percentage of useful energy to mine Bitcoin in order to earn side revenue. In 2020 Greenidge upgraded its Bitcoin mining enterprise following a successful trial to house 7,000 ASIC miners working away at its 65,000-square-foot facility.

However, DEC boss Seggos has warned that the Finger Lakes power plant might not meet the state’s statutory climate goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA, stating that “our belief still stands that this is a facility that’s going to have an uphill battle complying with the law.”

Plant Promised Zero Emissions by 2035

Greenidge’s permit application was rejected in September as its air pollution permits did not demonstrate compliance with the CLCPA targets, which include making the energy generation sector zero-emission by 2040.

The plant re-filed and, following a series of committee meetings, the revised filing, which includes a promise to make the plant zero-carbon emitting by 2035, will be ruled on in June.