DRESDEN, NY (WENY) -- Greenidge Generation, which operates a bitcoin mining operation at its natural gas power plant facility in Yates County, issued a statement in response to concerns and efforts raised by several environmental groups in opposition of a proposed expansion. 

Earlier this week, the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, based in Penn Yan, sent two nearly identical letters to Governor Andrew Cuomo, calling for the denial and revocation of permits related to the facility's current operations and proposed expansion. 

Greenidge CEO Dale Irwin issued the following statement, provided to WENY News. The full statement is below: 

“Over the last several years, a small number of people in our community have done everything possible to hurt our facility and the many good people who work there.  Never letting facts stand in their way, they have failed at every turn.  So, this week the same group is back again with a new letter addressed to the Governor.  The problem for them is that there is absolutely nothing new about it – it includes only the same claims have been rejected and debunked by the Courts in New York, the State and by our local community who supports the economic contribution and environmental progress being made by Greenidge.   Here are the facts:

In 2016, the Sierra Club and the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes (CPFL) sued the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.  They sought to have revoked the NYSDEC-issued air permits and the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) analysis of our operation.   The Supreme Court denied their petition in its entirety.  The Appellate Division agreed, dismissing their appeal.  

The same group, including the Sierra Club and the CPFL, also filed a petition in 2017 to revoke Greenidge’s water permits and again challenge the NYSDEC’s rigorous SEQRA analysis.  On that score also, the New York Supreme Court denied their petition in its entirety.

In September of 2020, the same collaborators then sent a letter to the NYSDEC claiming that the use of a portion of the onsite generated power for cryptocurrency mining constituted misrepresentations to the State and NYSDEC.  They made the same request, to have Greenidge’s permits modified or revoked and got the same answer.  The NYDEC stated:  

The facility is in compliance with the terms and conditions in all permits…We have determined that none of the grounds…which allow the Department to suspend, modify or revoke permits, were identified.  Therefore, we will not be suspending, modifying, or revoking the Greenidge permits in response to your letter.”

These efforts continue to ring hollow because they remain entirely ideologically driven, and devoid of any merit.  The NYSDEC issued the Greenidge water and air permits, and conducted a full SEQRA analysis of our operation, based on 24/7 operation of the facility to provide electricity.   Greenidge is doing, and will continue to only do, precisely what the NYSDEC permits allow -- generate electricity.  

This group should be praising Greenidge for its environmental stewardship.  After decades of operating as a coal-fired power generation facility, Greenidge invested over $20 million to convert to gas in 2017.  Today, Greenidge is an environmentally-sound source of power for our region, fully permitted and fully compliant with all federal and state laws and regulations protecting our air and water.  Greenidge is investing millions of dollars in new technologies to protect Seneca Lake.  Greenidge has a new Title V Air Permit which, at our request, requires the site never be operated on coal again. 

Our facility is also a thriving economic engine for the State of New York.  Greenidge has invested tens of millions of dollars into revitalizing the facility and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on local vendors and companies each year.  This investment strengthens our economy – most notably during this difficult period of the pandemic.   Greenidge also pays hundreds of thousands in taxes each year, with that number set to increase even further in the days ahead.  

Greenidge employs 27 people full-time, and many more as onsite contractors.  That means dozens of families across Yates County have good jobs and bright futures.  And, when called upon to operate on very cold nights or hot days, Greenidge provides enough electricity to serve over 20,000 homes in our region.  

Recently, Greenidge took a step to cement New York’s role as the financial capital of the world by launching a “one of a kind” data center in the Finger Lakes region for cryptocurrencies and other hosting applications.  This data center is one of the premier, fully integrated, behind-the-meter cryptocurrency mining operations in the countryWe are bringing tech and innovation to the Finger Lakes, developing blockchain jobs for the new economy, just as the Governor has challenged us all to do.

The public should pay no attention to the next Facebook post, press release or Op Ed regarding Greenidge from the Sierra Club or the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes.  Consider the source; their legal arguments haven’t gotten better with age, and their letters to politicians are more about creating headlines for themselves than creating a better environment for all of us.”  

Greenidge Generation operates a former coal-fired electrical power plant that has converted to natural gas. Greenidge Generation currently houses 7,000 bitcoin mining machines, one of the largest bitcoin mining facilities in the U.S. Atlas Holdings, the current owner, bought the power plant in 2014 and converted the plant from a coal-fired plant to natural gas in 2017. 

Greenidge is currently operating at 20 megawatts (MW) of power to mine bitcoin and was recently approved by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the town of Torrey to expand and have the ability to operate at its full potential; 106MW. The Greenidge expansion project would include a data processing facility and site improvements that would require four new buildings. These new buildings would add to the already existing 7,000 bitcoin data mining machines. The existing Greenidge  facility would provide these machines with power and cooling through the use of natural gas. The 106MW facility would also be able to mine around $50,000 worth of bitcoin every day.