Environmental Debate: New York Crypto Mining Plant Permit Delayed

8. February 2022.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has delayed its decision whether it will allow crypto mining firm Greenidge Generation to continue to use its power plant in the town of Dresden for bitcoin mining, according to a recent report from Bloomberg.

The decision by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation will now come by the end of March.

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New York & The Environmental Debate

The decision is now expected to come by March 31, two months later than originally planned, the report said. The delay will reportedly help NYSDEC complete its review with public comments, citing a spokesperson’s position on the matter. On December 2, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) questioned the environmental footprint of Greenidge Generation’s (GREE) bitcoin mining operation in New York in a detailed letter.

The senator later targeted six more crypto miners, questioning their energy usage. On January 16, Greenidge said that due to high electricity demand resulting from recent cold weather, the company temporarily curtailed cryptocurrency mining operations in Dresden the day prior. This was done to supply all its electrical generation capacity to the New York Independent System Operator. The miner applied last year to renew its permits for the plant, the first time it’s come up for renewal since it has been powering bitcoin mining operations.

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Could Extreme Weather Cause Further Delays?

Crypto mining has had major pushback from many people and environmentalist groups over the years. New York’s power grid could face challenges in the 2021-2030 period, including higher demand spurred by extreme weather and delays in planned projects, the state’s power grid operator said in a public statement earlier this month. Reporters, analysts, and others chimed in on how things are going, and the impact on progress for crypto and the environment it operates in.

“Governor Hochul is taking bold, nation-leading actions to confront climate change head-on, and DEC (the Department of Environmental Conservation) is actively reviewing proposals regarding the role of cryptocurrency mining in New York’s energy landscape, especially in light of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,” stated spokesperson Madia Coleman said in a statement. The act Coleman references is the state’s climate law mandating steep emissions reduction over the next three decades.

Policy advocate Liz Moran put in her thoughts on the bill and how it will effect things moving forward. “A moratorium on fossil fuels is a common sense first step, but we would like to see the state go farther and evaluate the potential environmental harms of the industry as a whole.”

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), in its comprehensive reliability plan (CRP), also said during normal weather conditions that its power system is expected to meet all applicable reliability standards during that period. As time moves on, we will learn more about the bill and if it will cause delays or all out stop fossil fuel crypto mining.

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