Back in March, the New York State Assembly’s Environmental Protection Committee voted to pass a two-year moratorium on PoW authentication methods for blockchain crypto mining, applicable to power plants that use carbon-based fuels to generate electricity.
Over the years, crypto mining operations have started popping up all over New York, including the Finger Lakes area. Mining companies operating in New York state have envisioned a new strategy that includes restoring decommissioned fossil fuel plants.
Greenwich Power Plant
Greenidge Generation already has 17,000 miners in operation, operates a (now) gas-fired power plant and a bitcoin mining facility, with plans to build four new buildings on the property. The power plant has been experiencing significant environmental concerns due to its potential environmental impact on the lake and air quality in the area. The power plant now uses up to 44 megawatts of ASICs, alarming sustainability advocates and New York lawmakers.
As a result, Greenidge’s action prompted a new parliamentary bill to suspend the PoW certification method for blockchain crypto mining for two years, for operations such as power plants that use carbon-based fuels to generate electricity.
Proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining operations increase energy usage across the state and violate the state’s energy and climate goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), according to the Assembly bill. The bill calls for an 85 percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, when all economic sectors in the state have zero emissions.
away from fossil fuels
Greenidge recently applied to the New York Department of Environmental Protection for an air quality permit renewal. Kellers’ new bill aims to prevent new air quality permits for crypto mining.
“We’re trying to get rid of burning fossil fuels. It doesn’t make sense to restore an old power plant in it,” said Yvonne Taylor, a member of an environmental group working to protect lakes in the area.
The new bill has faced opposition from the state’s power producers and crypto industry representatives, arguing that a separate bill passed by the state legislature last month to create a task force to better understand the industry would be more constructive .
The new bill has yet to be voted on in the Environmental Protection Committee Chamber.
A number of crypto agencies have begun lobbying to influence state regulations without coherent federal legislation, including the Blockchain Association and the Blockchain Industry Alliance. They have received official permission to lobby in Albany, New York’s capital.
Kyle Schneps of Foundry Digital LLC noted, “We view the battle currently being fought in New York as a litmus test for possible measures in other states.”
The key to Bitcoin mining profitability
The profitability of Bitcoin mining depends on the availability of cheap electricity, and the quest for cheap electricity has spawned many energy procurement strategies. Some miners ship their equipment to countries or regions where electricity is cheap, putting pressure on aging infrastructure and causing themselves to be expelled from the region.
Deregulated grids, such as those found in Texas, are also attracting miners to the United States. Harnessing stranded natural gas is also seen as a way to generate revenue from otherwise unavailable energy sources.
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