Greenidge’s Environmental Footprint Is a Target for Warren

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The Massachusetts senator wrote to the BTC miner, requesting further information regarding the mining operation’s environmental impact.

In a lengthy letter to Greenidge Generation’s (GREE) CEO, Jeffrey Kirt, United States. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) questioned the environmental imprint of the publicly-traded company’s BTC mining facility in New York state.

Warren expressed her interest in the company’s energy usage and its effect on the environment and consumers in the letter to Kirt.

“Given the extremely high energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with BTC mining, mining operations at Greenidge and other plants raise concerns about their impacts on the global environment, local ecosystems, and consumer electricity costs,” she wrote, requesting a detailed response by December 17.

Greenidge’s New York mining operation drew a lot of flak early this year. Environmentalists were concerned about the power plant’s use of natural gas to mine BTC, as well as its cooling system’s purported influence on a nearby lake. In May, the business said that from June 1st, it would acquire carbon offset credits to offset the emissions produced by its rigs.

Bitcoin miners consume a lot of energy to keep their operations moving. Miners have recently opted for more sustainable power sources to offset this perception.

According to a recent assessment conducted by the Bitcoin Mining Council, sustainable electricity grew to around 58 percent of the total used by the industry worldwide in the third quarter, up from 3% in the second quarter. The surge is due in part to North American mining’s quick expansion in the face of a Chinese exodus, as well as a transition to sustainable energy and good mining practices.

Despite this, Warren claims that BTC miners use the same amount of electricity as Denmark, Chile, Argentina, and Washington state. She added, “Bitcoin’s predicted yearly power consumption climbed more than triple between January 2019 and May 2021.”

Warren’s letter is the first time he has asked a miner for details about its operations. “Greenhouse gas emissions at the Dresden facility climbed nearly tenfold from 2019 to 2020,” she said, referring to the New York plant.

“By 2020, it will have released nearly 220,000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, equivalent to the emissions of 50,000 cars,” she added.

On its website, Greenidge describes itself as the “first and only carbon neutral, vertically integrated power generator and scale bitcoin miner in the United States.” The business is also preparing to begin mining operations in Spartanburg, South Carolina, later this month or early next year.

In an emailed statement Friday morning, a Greenidge spokesperson said, “We look forward to providing a detailed response to the Senator’s questions, sharing how the facility meets all of New York’s nation-leading environmental standards, is bringing economic opportunity to an underserved area of the state, and is a model for crypto mining with widespread local support.”

Greenidge Generation announced on Wednesday that it plans to sell $35 million in senior notes due in October 2026, following a $55.2 million senior note offering on Oct. 13 with similar terms.

The Author

Samuel Adeshina

Samuel is a financial reporter whose interests include blockchain, market, business, insurance, and Crypto to provide relevant information to all interested.