The Elmira Star-Gazette published an article on March 7 on the Dresden Greenidge power plant by Julie Sherwood of the Rochester Democrat and Chronical. The article explains that the Dresden Plant has been repurposed to generate electricity for a Bitcoin mining activity. Bitcoin mining uses a large amount of electricity. Sherwood writes that the Greenidge plant is licensed to produce 106 megawatts and that the company claims less than half of that is used for Bitcoin mining (however the Bitcoin mining is expanding).
In one way, this seems like a good idea. Electric demand isn’t constant. To meet peak demand, utilities need to run large generating plants at less than capacity or maintain other less-efficient generators, gas turbine powered generators for example, for occasional use. Greenidge can suspend Bitcoin mining and provide all 106 megawatts to the electric grid when needed.
Continued licensing of the Greenidge plant is supported by some local interests:
- Yates County Legislature
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- Yates County Farm Bureau
Environmentalists are opposed. The Greenidge plant produces greenhouse gasses and discharges warm water into Seneca Lake. The Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition opposes relicensing.