The Greenidge mine in New York has a dispute with local residents: How much impact does mining have on the environment?


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With the deepening of “carbon neutrality”, the gradual expansion of the volume and energy consumption of mines is bound to arouse the supervision of the authorities.

Original title: “For the sake of carbon neutrality, the lake fish in New York is “competing” with Bitcoin”
Written by: Rilak

On July 6, Greenidge, a crypto mining farm in New York, was accused by local residents of damaging Seneca Lake. The Greenidge mine extracts 139 million gallons of water from the lake every day to dissipate heat from the encrypted mining machine, and 96% is discharged. In winter, the mine is allowed to discharge water at a temperature of 108°F (about 42.2°C), and in summer, it is allowed to discharge water at a temperature of 86°F (30°C). Local residents believe that the behavior of the mine caused the temperature of the lake to rise and damage the local ecological environment, because the water temperature of more than 75°F (24°C) is fatal to some fishes. In April of this year, Greenidge’s representatives refuted allegations that the company raised the temperature of Seneca Lake.

Bitcoin enthusiast Hector quoted data as saying: “It takes approximately 1.17 watts per hour to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree. Therefore, to raise Seneca Lake by 1 degree, it is necessary to continuously provide 7,000 MW of power within 365 days. Electricity. This is not in line with reality. Greenidge has 8,000 mining machines with a capacity of only 24 megawatts, which cannot raise the temperature of the lake to that level.” Currently, thermal research on the water temperature of Seneca Lake is still ongoing.

Although Bitcoin mining may not be the culprit for the increase in Seneca Lake’s water temperature, conflicts between crypto mining farms and local communities have always existed. In March 2018, Plattsburgh, New York passed a crypto mining ban, and it was lifted in March 2019 for a period of one year; in December 2020, the well-known environmental protection organization Sierra Club (Sierra Club) Several groups filed a lawsuit against the town of Torrey in New York State to prevent the town of Torrey from approving a plan to expand bitcoin mining facilities near the Five Finger Lakes; on May 4 this year, the New York State Senate announced a new The proposal puts a three-year ban on the mining operations of cryptocurrency companies until the state can assess its environmental impact. And because of “obstacles from trade unions,” the bill died in the lower house of the state legislature. Supporters say they will work hard to pass the bill in 2022.

Putting aside the above disadvantages, New York can be regarded as one of the states with a better mining environment in the United States. It is located near the Great Lakes to the north and has abundant water resources. The relatively cheap hydroelectric power reduces the cost and facilitates the extraction of lake water to cool the mining machine. In addition to being resource-friendly, several other states in the United States also have the characteristics of “policy-friendly.”

According to The Washington Post, Lebit Mining Pool founder Jiang Zhuoer believes that large-scale mining will leave China. In mid-June, he was considering opening mines in Texas and Tennessee.

Several major computing power centers in the United States

Texas is one of the preferred addresses for crypto mining farms. Its abundant solar and wind energy accounts for 20% of the entire U.S. energy supply market, and its political stance is friendly to cryptocurrencies. On June 6, it signed a bill to create a legal framework for crypto investment. The new law amended the state’s Uniform Commercial Code to better adapt the commercial law to blockchain and digital assets, and to provide individuals and businesses with a legal environment for cryptocurrency investment; June 11, Texas Banking Department Approval of state chartered banks for custody of cryptocurrency is notified. Perhaps the bank may prompt customers to transfer their virtual currency directly under the control of the bank, create a new private key, and then hold it on behalf of the customer.

Miami, Florida can be regarded as an Internet celebrity city in the crypto world. In previous years, the North American Bitcoin Conference was held in Miami, and Miami had a plan to “build a crypto-centric city” early on. Of course, this is also inseparable from his mayor Francis Suarez’s firm optimism. On January 28, a copy of the “Bitcoin White Paper” was uploaded to the Miami Municipal website; on February 3, Miami citizens’ salaries could be paid in Bitcoin; late May Miami launched a plan to turn the city into a Bitcoin mining center. In addition, Miami has been looking for how cryptocurrency payments can be effective in the city’s public services, constantly publishing new policies and regulations to ensure that it has the most advanced encryption regulations, and in the cultural industry, it continues to create a more harmonious encryption environment for cooperation between Miami and NBA events. .

Jackson, Tennessee, also seems to be following Miami. In April, its mayor Scott Conger tweeted: “What will the future of cryptocurrency look like in Jackson? We are exploring cryptocurrency payments for employees. What’s more exciting is that we are seriously exploring Bitcoin mining. Mine and put it on our balance sheet.” Scott believes that local governments will take the lead in adopting Bitcoin to “welcome a new industrial revolution with a sustainable economy, which will help narrow the gap between the rich and the poor.” He will then tweet. Upload an avatar with laser eyes.

Wyoming is the first region to allow DAO to be officially registered in the state, and it places great emphasis on encryption education. On July 4th, Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming stated: “If you work in Bitcoin mining, please contact us. We hope you will show up in Wyoming. Don’t treat Bitcoin mining as a waste of energy. A lot of innovation is happening.” Wyoming may become another preferred destination for mining.

South Carolina is an area with a relatively complete nuclear power infrastructure. Greenidge’s next mine business will be established here. Two-thirds of the base’s electricity comes from zero-carbon energy such as nuclear power. Its CEO Jeff Kirt stated that this is an important step in the strategy. They will use their unique expertise in environmentally-friendly bitcoin mining in other parts of the country. They will strive to achieve “environmental leadership” in cryptocurrency operations.

The Greenidge mine in New York has a dispute with local residents: How much impact does mining have on the environment?

In fact, with the deepening of “carbon neutrality”, the gradual expansion of the volume and energy consumption of mines is bound to arouse the supervision of the authorities. In the future, no matter in which country or region mining activities are carried out, they must comply with relevant regulations on carbon emissions. At present, many miners in North America have united to formulate new standards for energy structure reporting and are taking active actions.

Take Greenidge as an example. Although the mine is only operating at 13% of its production capacity, its actual CO2 emissions in 2020 are 243,103 tons, which is lower than the 28,301 tons in January this year on average per month. There are reports that the factory’s carbon emissions in 2019 were 119,304 tons. In April, Greenidge stated that it is buying carbon credits to offset factory emissions and will soon become carbon neutral.

In addition to directly purchasing carbon emission credits, “carbon neutrality” can be achieved in two ways. One is “carbon sequestration”, which mainly absorbs and stores carbon dioxide in the air by natural carbon sinks such as soil, forests and oceans. What we do is planting trees and afforestation; the second is “carbon offset”, which offsets the carbon emissions of an industry by investing in the development of renewable energy and low-carbon clean technologies. Afforestation is obviously impractical for encrypted mining companies, so the use of clean energy from the source or the development of emission reduction technologies have become feasible measures for mining companies to meet carbon standards.

For U.S. mining companies, the development of clean energy mining and emission reduction technologies such as wind, solar, nuclear, bioenergy, and geothermal energy may cause changes in the industry. Of course, the development of new technologies requires costs, which will be accompanied by the implementation of new ideas. The cost of incoming carbon credits will also increase. The mining costs of mining companies may become higher in a short period of time. However, achieving carbon neutrality in the industry is one of the ultimate goals of the crypto world, which means that crypto is no longer synonymous with consumption, and the “Musks” will have no better grounds to criticize Bitcoin by then.

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