The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has turned down the renewal application for a ‘Title V Air Permit’ for bitcoin mining operation Greenidge Generation.
The DEC has noted in the denial that renewal of the Title V permit would not be aligning with (or would interfere) the achievement of the Statewide greenhouse gas emission limits established in Article 75 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL).
Additionally, Greenidge could not show that the ongoing working of the Facility is justified irrespective of this inconsistency. This is due to failing to provide any electric system reliability or other ongoing need for the Facility.
Greenidge runs an electric power plant in Torrey, in Yates County. Originally used as a coal-fired power plant, the power plant stopped operations in 2011.
After acquiring the facility in 2014, Greenidge reopened it to use it through natural gas, thus producing electricity for selling it to the grid.
Greenidge got a Title V air permit in September 2016, which expired in September 2021. The firm was allowed to continue operation while the licence was under review for renewal.
Last year, the DEC said Greenidge filed for a renewal of its air permit but did not mention the “ongoing change in the primary purpose of the facility’s operation.” It also failed to include the increased energy requirement created by the new crypto mining operations.
The DEC further said that the firm merely highlighted that the renewal application asked for small changes in the ‘current permit’.
While reviewing the renewal application, the DEC got nearly 4,000 public comments which were either in favour of or against the permit renewal.
DEC said it felt that the application does not show conformity with the standards of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
The red flag to the application is a huge success for environmental advocates.
The DEC admitted that the Climate Act was not in place when Greenidge’s Title V permit for the facility was launched in 2016. The DEC may have denied the permit if these requirements of the Climate Act were in place at that time. The DEC said the CLCPCA must be considered as part of the renewal action.
In response to the denial, Greenidge can ask for an administrative adjudicatory hearing within 30 days.