***Correction: The radio story above says that the plant will be mining bitcoin with 45 MW/h of electricicty by the end of 2021. That number is actually 41 MW/h, which could power almost 35,000 homes, not 38,000.
At last night’s meeting, the Town of Torrey planning board approved a site plan application for Greenidge Generation LLC.
Greenidge operates a gas-fired power plant and bitcoin mining operation. With this approval, Greenidge will now be able to build housing for more computers.
The plant should be mining bitcoin with 41MW/h of electricity by the end of the year. That’s enough energy to power almost 35,000 homes running.
At the meeting, environmental activists were pushing the point that the planning board should deny Greenidge their site plan on the increased environmental impacts it could bring.
More computers means more mining, which means more CO2 in the atmosphere, and also means the plant’s lake source cooling system will pump more heated water into Seneca Lake.
But, as board member Robert Miller said, "It’s not legally defensible -- as far as we’re being told - for us to make our decision based upon what the generation part of the property does because we have no jurisdiction over that"
Greenidge has permits from the DEC for it’s air, and water discharge. Relying on their attorney’s advice, Torrey couldn’t consider those environmental impacts in their vote. However, the planning board did come to an agreement with Greenidge to do a deeper noise pollution study when the buildings are constructed.
Whether bitcoin mining is a good or bad reason for putting CO2 into the atmosphere, the DEC hasn’t said so yet. Greenidge’s air permits are set to expire in September. They’ll be reviewed by the DEC then, and Greenidge Generation CEO, Dale Irwin said that's fine, that "all the laws and regulations the DEC willy apply to us, we’ll review them. This is a normal course of business for us to work with the DEC."