“We are not boiling glacial lake,” say bitcoin miners in New York

Key facts:
  • Greenidge claims that the lake’s warming has been 3.7 °C since it began operating.

  • Despite complaints from neighbors, the plant plans to invest in more equipment.

Charged by Upstate New York residents, Greenidge Generation LLC. he publicly denied the consequences attributed to his bitcoin mining activities. Residents of the area claim that a 12,000-year-old glacial lake has become”a hot tub.”

The lake in question is Lake Seneca, one of several that make up the Finger Lakes region, in the western part of the northern state of the United States. There, Greenidge operates the facilities of what once was a power plant that generated energy from natural gas. Both this firm and the head office are owned by Atlas Holdings Group, which he owns a mining farm with approximately 8,000 computers.

The responsibility attributed to the mining company is that it dumps hot water —waste from bitcoin mining— into Lake Seneca; in addition, its carbon dioxide emissions also stand out, which would have multiplied by 10 since January 2020, according to ArsTechnica.

However, Greenidge reported in a statement revealed by ArsTechnica that, according to data taken from March 1 to April 17, 2021, “the water temperature is 9.7 °C”, which represents an increase of 3.7 °C since the beginning of bitcoin mining in the region, 18 months ago. “Greenidge operates in full compliance with the water and air permits granted, “the brief notes, which is why it is argued that the accusations that relate to it”are false.”

Greenidge also stresses that “60%” of the energy produced is used to supply the inhabitants of the area, and that only the rest of it is dedicated to mining. According to ArsTechnica, Atlas intends to add even more equipment to use 85 of the 108 MW of energy produced by the plant.

“The lake is so hot it looks like you’re in a bathtub,” Abi Buddington, a Dresden-area resident, told NBC News. In this regard, the company remarked that Buddington mentioned “only a part” of the lake where this feeling was perceived. The truth is that there will not be complete studies on the effects of the plant on the lake and its flora and fauna until 2023.

Greenidge makes millionaire profits with bitcoin mining

In March 2020, a few months after the opening of this mining farm on the shore of Lake Seneca, CriptoNoticias reported that royalties earned by Greenidge and Atlas reached $ 50,000 (in bitcoin) per day. At that time, the 7,000 computers installed on the site mined about 5.5 BTC each day, and their consumption did not reach 10% of the total generated. This figure, as mentioned earlier, is much higher today.

However, allegations of the plant’s environmental impact contradict a commitment Greenidge made in mid-May 2021. This pact was to offset 100% of its carbon footprint and reinvest part of its profits in renewable energy projects.

This was a reaction of the mining company to a possible ban on its activity by the State of New York. For the people of the county, however, Atlas and Greenidge are not keeping their promise.

Nevertheless, Atlas would have decided to go even further. According to ArsTechnica, in addition to doubling its equipment at the plant and bringing electricity consumption to 80% of what is generated, the company plans to buy a building from a former publishing house to convert it into a cryptocurrency mining data center. It would not have its own power generation, but would rely heavily on nuclear energy and, as a complement, fossil energy.

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