How bitcoin is keeping zombie power plants alive

Cryptocurrency is an economic lifeline for dirty, aging coal and gas plants.

On The Carbon Copy podcast this week:

Bitcoin mining today uses approximately half a percent of all the world’s electricity. As more shipping containers and warehouses full of high-powered computers are deployed every year to unlock more bitcoin, its associated energy use grows by double-digit percentages.

What’s more, as bitcoin mining operations scramble to find new power sources, they’re often turning to aging coal or fossil gas plants that offer cheap electricity.

This week, we’ll take you to Seneca Lake in upstate New York, where a group of unlikely activists is fighting back against a zombie” power plant that is now fueling a bitcoin mine. 

What’s happening in Seneca Lake is not a one-off story. Across the nation, the companies that own dying, dirty power plants see cryptocurrency as an opportunity to extend their facilities’ useful lives. Bitcoin mining is locking in fossil fuels — what can we do about it?

Today’s guest is Brian Kahn, the climate editor at Protocol. You can read his recent piece about the Greenidge power plant in New York here.

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