More than 15,000 computer servers run on more than half of the plant’s electricity output to power bitcoin mining, which consumes significant power.
Greenidge Generation’s request to renew an air permit needs to continue operating in New York as a crypto mining power plant. It has been rejected by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) aims to reduce New York’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 85% by 2050, which regulators say to be at variance with Greenidge’s application.
More than 15,000 computer servers are now running on the plant’s electricity, guzzling up most of it for bitcoin mining. The decision was made when the US Supreme Court dismissed an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appeal. It was holding the federal agency lacked the authority to control greenhouse gas emissions from crypto mining power plants under the neat & Clean Air Act, the nation’s most potent anti-air pollution statute.
The judgment limits the federal ability to address climate goals, leaving it up to individual state governments. The state Department of Environmental Conservation refused the renewals, citing the plant’s conversion to a bitcoin mining business as producing a significant new energy demand “for an entirely new purpose unconnected to its original permit.
(TNS) — A natural gas-fueled power station next to Seneca Lake that used most of the electricity it produced to mine the cryptocurrency Bitcoin was refused an air permit today by New York state officials.
Opponents pointed to the plant’s effects on climate change, and the local ecosystem hailed the Department of Environmental Conservation’s decision as a significant win for the crypto mining power plant.
“This is an incredible, precedent-setting moment for everyone who has fought side by side with the Finger Lakes community,” said Yvonne Taylor of the Seneca Lake Guardian in a news release. “Governor Hochul and the DEC stood with science and the people and sent a message to outside speculators: New York’s former fossil fuel burning plants are not yours to re-open as gas-guzzling Bitcoin mining cancers on our communities.”
According to DEC officials, the plant’s operation would be “inconsistent with the statewide greenhouse gas emission restrictions” outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This is why; I refused the permit. The state requires legislation to reduce emissions by 85% by 2050.
The plant’s owners have one month to appeal the DEC ruling, and it can keep running during that period. According to Greenidge’s Generation Holdings Inc., they plan to appeal. In a statement, the business referred to the DEC decision as “arbitrary and capricious.”
Because the plant’s Greenidge power plant opened decades ago and initially burned coal, according to DEC officials, to deny the permit by force. In 2011, the coal-fired facility was shut down. Three years later, the facility was restarted and changed to using natural gas as its primary fuel in crypto mining power plants. According to the DEC’s letter rejecting the current application, the air permit was renewed by the DEC in 2016 with the expectation that the facility would sell electricity into the grid.
Later, it was discovered that the majority of the energy was being used locally for Bitcoin mining, according to DEC officials.
According to Greenidge’s proposal for a new Title V air permit in 2021, the facility will emit more than 1 million short tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, which is more than six times the emissions before the power plant switched to cryptocurrency mining, the DEC said. According to the regulators, that was an issue when the state attempted to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Company representatives expressed dissatisfaction with their pledge to lower emissions by 40% by 2025 as a requirement for a new air permit. DEC representatives did not reply, the company claimed.
Large amounts of electricity are utilized in bitcoin mining operations in crypto mining power plants like Yates County. According to Lee McKnight, an information studies professor at Syracuse University, bitcoin mining uses as much electricity globally as the 45 million-person nation of Argentina. In 2018, a scholar from Princeton University testified before Congress that the electricity usage of bitcoin mining was roughly equal to that of New York state as a whole, or 1% of the world’s total electrical use.
According to the agency’s letter to the corporation, “the facility is functioning solely to fulfill its own considerable increased energy demand, rather than helping to meet the current power needs of the state as originally described.”
While it challenged the decision, the business stated it would carry on with its current permit. It claimed that the denial lacked “any reasonable legal foundation.”
“Anyone who examines these facts and attempts to reasonably claim that renewing this particular permit – for a facility that accounts for a negligible portion of the state’s power generation capacity – would hinder New York’s long-term climate goals is irrational for crypto mining power plants. It really wouldn’t, “The company stated.
Climate activists requested Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration to refuse the plant’s air quality permit renewal and halt comparable developments because they view Greenidge as a test case.
Hochul is currently weighing whether to sign a two-year freeze on new and renewal air licenses for fossil fuel power plants used for proof-of-work mining into law when they made the decision.
The Greenidge facility has been the target of an environmental advocacy group for more than five years. Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, applauded DEC’s decision.
According to Taylor, “We are thrilled to be a part of a community that comes together to maintain our clean air and water as well as the booming agricultural and tourism sectors in the Finger Lakes.” Finger Lakes’ members have been calling, texting, and emailing us, all happy that the decision has been taken.
When a decision finalizes, Hochul will either implement a two-year moratorium on new and renewed air licenses for fossil fuel power plants used for proof-of-work mining or abstain from doing so.
An environmental advocacy group has been campaigning against the Greenidge plant for more than five years, and Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, commended DEC’s decision.
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