The main purpose of the Greenidge gas-fired power plant in the Finger Lakes region is not to provide energy to New Yorkers. It’s to generate bitcoin cryptocurrency, through a process called proof-of-work mining that requires massive computing power.

Now, the plant’s days may be numbered.

This week, state regulators determined the facility runs afoul of the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA, which set aggressive targets for reducing carbon emissions.

What You Need To Know

  • Greenidge’s gas-fired power plant in the Finger Lakes region generates bitcoin, through a process that requires massive computing power

  • On Thursday state regulators denied Greenidge a permit renewal, saying the project did not align with the state’s carbon emissions targets

  • Advocates are now pushing Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a recently passed moratorium on new fossil fuel-powered crypto mining plants

  • The Greenidge plant will remain open while the company pursues administrative and legal appeals

“The five-year renewal comes up,” said Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. “We take a look at it and apply the CLCPA to the application and the emissions that we see currently, and ultimately determined that the plant was inconsistent with the state’s climate law.”

The Greenidge plant drew fierce and well-organized opposition from environmental advocates, who have made crypto-mining a target.

“We refuse to accept that evangelists for a fake currency could come into New York, buy up politicians, and determine our future for us,” Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, said during a news conference Friday celebrating the decision.

Now environmental advocates want Gov. Kathy Hochul to take a further step by signing a recently passed moratorium on any new permits for fossil fuel-powered crypto mining operations.

“This was absolutely the right decision,” said state Senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn, the senate’s lead sponsor on the moratorium, which he expects Hochul to sign. “It heartens me that we’re kind of on the same page and rowing in the same direction as it relates to protecting our environment.”

Greenidge says the state ignored its offer to reduce emissions at the plant, adding in a statement, “It is absurd for anyone to ... rationally claim that renewing this specific permit — for a facility that makes up a small fraction of the state’s electricity generation capacity — would impede New York’s long-term climate goals. It simply would not.”

The plant will continue to operate for now. Greenidge has 30 days to appeal the state’s ruling, and could pursue further legal action.