Crypto mining’s environmental impact continues to raise concerns with regulators and businesses alike.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul has been asked by a group of local businesses to deny permits for converting the city’s old fossil-fuel power plants into crypto mining centers. The request comes in the form of a letter co-signed by a number of organizations, businesses and labor groups.
The letter calls for an environmental assessment for proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrency mining in the state of New York while urging Governor Hochul to deny permits to convert the Greenidge Generating Station and the Fortistar North Tonawanda power plants into crypto mining facilities:
“Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency mining use enormous amounts of energy to power the computers needed to conduct business — should this activity expand in New York, it could drastically undermine New York’s climate goals established under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”
The proposal highlighted the inefficiencies of PoW authentication and suggests that repowering defunct fossil-fueled power plants would be “seriously jeopardizing the state’s progress on and meeting mandates for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”
The businesses also quoted New York State Commissioner Basil Seggos of the Department of Environmental Conservation, saying that “Greenidge has not shown compliance with New York’s climate law.”
Citing the need for a full environmental assessment related to greenhouse gas emissions, the letter demands Hochul’s administration deny the Title V Air Permits for the two fossil-fuel facilities.
On the other side of the world, authorities in Russia are planning to introduce special electricity tariffs for recently displaced Chinese cryptocurrency miners.
On Wednesday, Russian Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov suggested a new energy consumption framework to differentiate tariffs between general usage and cryptocurrency mining, stating:
“We can’t let miners capitalize on the situation at the expense of low residential electricity tariffs.”
According to research conducted by the New York Digital Investment Group, Bitcoin’s energy consumption will remain below 0.5% of the global total over the next decade. The study also suggests that the carbon footprint of Bitcoin will be dependent on fluctuations in Bitcoin’s price, mining difficulty and energy consumption.