What’s the environmental impact of bitcoin mining? A bitcoin mining industry operated by Greenidge Generation in New York state is polluting the air and heating Seneca Lake, according to local residents’ report. “The lake is so hot you feel like you’re in a hot tub,” a local resident told the NBC News report.
The body of water is the largest of the glacial lakes that have existed for 12,000 years and makes up the Finger Lakes, an important region for environmental preservation and tourism in the USA. The lakes have high quality water and are home to a considerable population of rainbow trout, a species highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations.
Greenidge is allowed to dump 135 million gallons of water a day into Lake Keuka, with maximum temperatures of 42°C in summer and 30°C in winter. This water eventually reaches Lake Seneca, which can experience tropical temperatures on its surface and lead to the proliferation of harmful algae.
Environmental Impact of Bitcoin Mining
Mining is one of the processes used to create new bitcoins. The activity requires a huge amount of electricity to perform thousands of virtual currency transaction checks, which are remunerated with small rewards.
In order to obtain greater profits in the transactions, entrepreneurs seek to use the cheapest energy possible and, often, they are not concerned with the environmental issue.
Since 2019, Greenidge has used a gas-powered plant that generates electricity for its factory. The industrial plant has 8,000 high-performance computers working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A document obtained by Earth Justice, a non-profit environmental advocate, shows that the plant’s emissions have soared since Greenidge began using it to fuel bitcoin mining operations.
At the end of 2020, the plant’s carbon dioxide equivalent emissions totalled 243,000 tonnes, up from 28,000 tonnes in January, the document says.