The New York State Senate has passed a bill that bans the use of coal-fired electricity for cryptocurrency mining for two years. Existing miners in the state will be able to continue operating as before. The bill is currently awaiting approval from Governor Kathy Hochul.
The move comes amid growing concerns that the recent bitcoin mining boom could have dire environmental consequences, including water scarcity and increased carbon emissions. The state Public Utilities Commission estimates that bitcoin mining annually consumes enough electricity to power all of New York City, and that number is expected to rise in the coming years as more miners come online.
The goal of the legislation is to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in New York’s bitcoin mining sector, which is estimated to consume 20-30% of the state’s electricity.
The bill would also direct the Public Utilities Commission (PSC) to create a program that requires “electric distribution companies” to provide data on their customers’ electricity use so that regulators can identify miners using more than 25 megawatts of power without a PSC exemption.
In the meanwhile, the Biden administration is working on developing its own legislation to address the mining of bitcoins, with the intention of reducing energy usage as well as emissions.
According to Dr. Costa Samaras, who is the principal assistant director for energy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the office is investigating the links between distributed ledger technology and energy transitions, as well as the potential for these technologies to hinder or advance efforts to combat climate change both domestically and internationally, and the impacts these technologies have on the environment. Additionally, the office is investigating the potential for these technologies to impede or advance efforts to combat climate change both domestically and internationally.
One of the objectives outlined in the executive order that was issued by the president in March is for this endeavor to be undertaken.
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