The environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining continues to be a concern for regulators and businesses. One recent piece of evidence comes from New York, where a group of local businesses asked New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul to refuse permission to convert old city power plants to fossil fuels into cryptocurrency mining centers.
The request came in the form of a letter co-signed by a number of organizations, companies and trade unions.
Impact of PoW on the environment
The letter calls for an assessment of the environmental impact of Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency mining at NY, and urges Governor Hochul to refuse permission to convert Greenidge Generating Station and Fortistar North Tonawanda to cryptocurrency plants:
“If this activity really expands in New York, it could drastically jeopardize New York’s climate goals set out in the Climate Leadership and Civil Protection Act.”
The proposal emphasized the inefficiency of PoW verification and indicated that reconnecting non-functional fossil fuel power plants would “seriously jeopardize the state’s progress in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and meeting these mandates”.
The companies also quoted NYS Commissioner Basil Seggos of the Department of Environmental Protection as saying that Greenidge has not demonstrated compliance with the New York Climate Act.
NYS is taking action on #ClimateChange. Today @NYSDEC released for public comment draft air permits for former coal plant turned BTC mine, Greenidge LLC. DEC has not made a final determination on the permits and Greenidge has not shown compliance with NY’s climate law./1 pic.twitter.com/PKozYCUIeQ
– Basil Seggos🇺🇸 (@BasilSeggos) September 8, 2021
Referring to the need for a full environmental impact assessment of greenhouse gas emissions, the letter requests that the administration refuse permits for both fossil fuel combustion plants.
A view of the other end of the world
On the other side of the world, the Russian authorities plan to introduce special electricity tariffs for new miners who have recently moved from China.
On October 13, Russian Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov proposed a new framework for energy consumption that would differentiate tariffs between general use and cryptocurrency mining, and resolutely stated:
“Cryptocurrency mining should be carried out in accordance with the law. We cannot allow miners to benefit from the situation at the expense of low household electricity tariffs. “
According to a survey by the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG), BTC energy consumption will remain below 0.5% of global energy consumption in the next decade. The study also suggests that BTC’s carbon footprint will depend on fluctuations in price, difficulty of mining and energy consumption.