Headlines claimed that a power plant that mines Bitcoin is turning part of Seneca Lake into a giant hot tub.
The fossil fuel power plant that a private equity firm resuscitated to mine bitcoin is grinding away once more. So this crypto asset with little real-world utility is not just polluting the atmosphere. Still, this experiment in free marketeering is also dumping a huge number of gallons of hot water into glacial Seneca Lake in upstate New York.
Glacial Seneca Lake is the largest of the glacial Finger Lakes in New York State. And you surely have heard of a rumour that a power plant that mines bitcoin is turning glacial Senecal lake into a giant hot tub.
The NBC News is the first to claim this, and the Seneca Lake homeowner Abi Buddington quoted, “the lake is so warm you feel like you’re in a hot tub.” Buddington owns a home near the Greenidge power station.
Before, nearby occupants weren’t captivated by the possibility of contamination spewing power plants warming their cold-water lake. Yet, essentially, the electricity created by the plant was driving their homes. 60% do, Greenidge said, yet the remainder of the time, the turbines are consuming natural gas to mint benefits for the private equity firm Atlas Holdings by mining bitcoin.
Greenidge Generation started in 1937 as a coal-fired power plant, commissioned by New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG).
Atlas is the firm that purchased Greenidge, and it has been sloping up its bitcoin mining desires throughout the last 18 months, installing a large number of mining rigs that have produced more than 1,100 bitcoins as of February 2021. In addition, the organisation has plans to introduce thousands of additional apparatuses, eventually utilising 85 MW of the station’s complete 108 MW limit.
Seneca Lake’s water isn’t the only thing being affected by the bitcoin power plant. Mining started in January 2020, and in December 2020, with the power plant running at only 13% of its ability; Atlas’ bitcoin operations created; 243,103 tons of carbon dioxide and comparable; greenhouse gas emissions; which indicates ten times increment from January. NOx pollution, which is answerable for everything from asthma, lung cancer, and premature death, also rose 10x.
The plant presently has a license to transmit 641,000 tons of CO2 each year; however, on the off chance that Atlas needs to augment its profit from the venture. And utilise every one of the 106 MW of the plant’s ability, its carbon contamination could flood to 1.06 million tons each year, as per Earthjustice and the Sierra Club. Expect NOx emanations—and health impacts—to rise likewise. The project’s only substantial advantage is the organisation’s guaranteed 31 jobs.
The 12,000-year-old Seneca Lake is the deepest lake entirely within the state and a sparkling specimen of the Finger Lakes region of the United States. It boasts high-quality water, pure to drink with just restricted treatment.
Seneca lake is promoted as the lake trout capital of the world and is the host of the National Lake Trout Derby. In addition, due to its profundity and relatively simple entry, the US Navy utilises Seneca Lake to perform tests and assessments of equipment ranging from single component transducers to complex sonar arrays and systems.
The prized fish bring forth in the streams that feed the lake, and it’s into one of those waterways—the Keuka Lake Outlet, known to local people for its rainbow trout fishing—that Greenidge dumps its warmed water.
Rainbow trout are sensitive to changes in water temperature, with the fish most joyful during the 50s. However, since cold water holds more oxygen, as the temperature increases, fish become upset. Above 70˚ F, rainbow trout quit developing, and stressed species start dying.
Greenidge has permission to dump 135 million gallons of water each day into the Keuka Lake Outlet as hot as 108˚ F in the late spring and 86˚ F in the colder time of year. As a result, the plant’s daily discharge temperature has risen in recent four years, reported by the New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
That water ultimately advances toward Seneca Lake, where it can bring about tropical surface temperatures and unsafe algal blossoms. According to the residents, the plant temperature is already high, but it would take longer than 2 two years to report complete statistics. In addition, according to residents, Bitcoin mining operations of Bitcoin miners are polluting the lake.
Seneca Canal connects the Erie Canal to Seneca Lake, and Lake Erie contains algae bloom named cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria can cause nausea in humans and can kill pets.
Similarly, the Clarke Fork River is a river in the U.S. states of Montana and Idaho, approximately 310 miles (500 km) long. Studies revealed that it is rich in chemicals called arsenic, copper, zinc, lead and, cadmium.
Greenidge sent Ars subtleties of water temperature readings taken between March 1 and April 17, expressing that the water leaving the plant was 49.6˚ F, which was 6.8˚ F hotter than the temperature at the plant’s intake.
Moreover, the organisation brings up that a water quality observing buoy nine miles north of the plant shows an average temperature of 67˚ F.
“The Greenidge facility operates in full compliance with its air and water permits, which were issued after years of analysis and review by the State,” a spokesperson wrote to Ars. “The suggestion that Greenidge is somehow negatively impacting Seneca Lake—or is an impediment to New York’s important greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals—is just false.” The bitcoin power plant is a polluting part of Seneca lake, not the whole lake.