Crypto companies in New York are revitalizing old fossil fuel plants for off-the-grid cryptocurrency mining. Some companies have converted the old power plants from coal-fired to natural gas, which power generators used to mine Bitcoin.
Greenridge Generation has turned to Bitcoin mining. It can mine Bitcoin at $22/MWh, which is 5x less than the average price paid by US residents. Greenridge uses an integrated 106MW gas-fired power plant and Bitcoin mining operation in Upstate New York. Atlas Holdings, a major backer of Greenridge, manages an additional 1000 MW of power stations in the New York and New England areas.
The company claims to have been “entirely carbon natural” since 2021. A number of companies are achieving carbon neutrality by purchasing carbon credits rather than being emission-free. But they require a new air quality license to continue mining Bitcoin in the state.
A 2017-2018 report highlighting the impact of mining on local economies said crypto mining in upstate New York increased annual electric bills by about $165 million for small businesses and $79 million for individuals. But increase in commerce from the influx of Bitcoin miners has not helped the local economy. It should be noted that Bitcoin mining is not human resource-heavy, so it does not create many jobs for residents.
Environmentalists and governments across the world have called out the crypto industry for its highly energy-intensive mining. There has been a push for Bitcoin and other crypto mining to use more renewable energy. It costs around $4,200 for Greenridge to mine 1BTC using modern ASIC miners. Experts say that for around $40,000, is a solid return on investment (ROI) for any business.