Crypto Throws the Coal Industry a Lifeline

The Scrubgrass Producing Plant in Venango County, Pennsylvania, tucked into a thick forest subsequent to a meandering stretch of the Allegheny River, burns 600,000 tons of coal a yr. The ensuing electrical energy goes no farther than the 2,000 computer systems in close by delivery containers. They run day and evening, powering the energy-intensive work of mining for Bitcoin.

A number of years in the past, the plant, unable to compete with cheaper gasoline crops, appeared near retirement. Then, in 2017, it was bought by Stronghold Digital Mining. The identical salvation is being granted to defunct and declining fossil-fuel-burning crops throughout Appalachia and the Northeast: They’ve been fired again up and repurposed as big turbines for cryptocurrency.

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In 2014, Atlas Holdings bought a coal plant in the Finger Lakes area of New York that had been shuttered since 2011 and transformed it to a gasoline plant. Preliminary Bitcoin-mining operations at the Greenidge Technology plant used 14 megawatts of vitality, however the firm plans to develop to at the very least 500 megawatts of mining capability by 2025. Canada-based Digihost is operating a as soon as partially operational gasoline plant close to Buffalo, New York, at full steam and is in the course of of buying a second plant in Niagara County. In West Virginia, the Grant City coal-burning plant hopes to convey itself again from the brink of chapter by crypto mining.

Since 2021, when new legal guidelines in China devastated cryptocurrency mining there, the United States has develop into the sector’s world hub—not least as a result of it has plenty of idled fossil-fuel-powered crops. Buying and reviving them is an environment friendly means for crypto entrepreneurs to make thousands and thousands. However environmentalists are aghast at the lifeline being thrown to those soiled energy crops.

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