Greenidge Generation Holdings (NASDAQ: SPRT), whose natural gas-powered bitcoin mining operation has ignited controversy in upstate New York, intends to counteract the emissions that its rigs create carbon offset credit purchases beginning on June 1, 2021.
The power station operator said it will invest in a “portfolio” of greenhouse gas reduction projects to cancel 100% of its miners’ carbon footprint. It also plans to spend some of its mining profits in renewable energy projects in New York, according to its announcement on Friday. The miner possesses its own ~40 MW natural gas plant, the energy supply alerting the carbon credit purchases.
Concerns Over Potential Impact On Area Lake
Environmentalists objected to the power station burning natural gas to mine bitcoin as well as to its cooling system’s alleged impact on a neighborhood lake.
“Each project has been reviewed and certified by one of three well-recognized Offset Project Registries, the American Carbon Registry (ACR), the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) and Verra, ensuring that any projects funded by Greenidge reduce emissions or increase sequestration of greenhouse gas in a manner that is real, permanent, and verifiable,” the release reads.
The Greenidge instance is one battlefront in an increasing war over bitcoin’s environmental footprint. Critics have blasted energy-hungry crypto miners for in their view contributing to the climate crisis, while defenders of bitcoin’s proof-of-work blockchain claim the crypto numbers to an insignificant blip in global emissions.
“All miners should follow their example and buy offsets; they’re only around 10 bps (basis points) to neutralize the climate impact,” Nic Carter, a partner at Castle Island Ventures and frequent commentator on the mining controversy, said of Greenidge. “Offsets are an expedient and efficient tool to solve this problem.”
Greenidge’s carbon offset announcement comes as new waves of press focus foment controversy surrounding Bitcoin’s energy use.
Musk Comments Sparking Change in Crypto Mining Operations
Earlier this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk suspended the electric-car manufacturer’s policy of allowing bitcoin as a payment due to ecological concerns. He said Tesla could reevaluate the crypto after “mining transitions to more renewable energy.”
In response, a few North American miners have begun making movements toward 100% renewables in their energy sourcing. In MONTH, the Crypto Carbon Accord was made, using a growing number of companies pledging to create the crypto mining sector carbon neutral by 2040.
Even though Greenidge’s bitcoin rigs will stay dependent on energy from fossil fuels and also will use more energy once it expands its mining operations, the company seems to be among the first crypto miners with carbon emissions cancel plan.
Notably, bitcoin mining’s electricity mix trends from 36-76% renewables depending on the time of year. Currently, Chinese miners are migrating from the coal-rich region of Xinjiang to the hydro-rich Sichuan area.