Who’s going to put leftover coal to use powering the world’s most incredible financial network? Bitcoin, that’s who. Another day, another story about bitcoin mining actually protecting the environment in a practical way. This time we travel to the previously-abandoned Panther Creek Energy Facility in coal country, Pennsylvania. Stronghold Digital Mining purchased it and, besides mining, it’s using it to consume the leftover coal waste present in the state.
According to ESG guidelines, coal burning is negative for the environment. They are probably right about that, but, what about the already-mined piles of coal left all around the world? That’s the core idea behind energy industry veteran Bill Spence’s plan to clean up “his home state of coal refuse.” While also getting the bitcoin network’s mining rewards, of course. The Panther Creek Energy Facility consists of “80 trailers on site, each containing 64 computer servers.”
That naive description comes courtesy of ABC, who first reported on the curious mining site. “It could be part of the future of digital currency, it could be a new way to clean up the environment, or it could be both,” ABC writes to introduce the surprisingly positive article.
Eradicating The Leftover Coal Problem
Make no mistake, “this is not a zero-carbon project.” However, as Spence will explain, it serves a five-billion-dollar purpose. You see, “Pennsylvania has millions of tons of leftover coal waste piled next to towns, polluting groundwater and sending ash toxins into the air.” Then, the article uses drama to get its point across: “Spence, a cancer survivor himself, says someone has to get rid of it.” And quotes him to solidify it:
“These communities built America, they powered America, and this material was dumped in these communities. What we do is we eradicate the problem.”
The leftover coal is not a small problem by any chance, “Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection estimates it would cost taxpayers more than $5 billion to clean up all of the state’s abandoned mines.” That being said, “Stronghold expects to have the four million tons of coal waste at the Swoyersville site cleared in a few years, potentially saving the nearby residents from the ill-health effects and paving the way for new development and open space.”
How’s bitcoin mining bad for the environment again?
BTC price chart for 10/14/2022 on Gemini | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
How Does The Mine Gets Rid Of Coal?
The picture the article paints is not pretty, but it has to be done:
“Workers transport the coal waste from several sites, the largest being the Swoyersville dump site near Wilkes-Barre. They separate usable coal from the massive piles and use it to generate electricity.”
With that electricity, of course, Stronghold and Bill Spence mine bitcoin. An activity that the article describes in the darndest way, “the Blockchain, an automated computer ledger for Bitcoin, grants Stronghold fractions of Bitcoin as a “thank you” in return.” That’s how ABC described bitcoin mining in 2022. We are so early.
In any case, the article quotes Stronghold Digital Mining’s Dave Buchinski:
“It’s kind of like building the internet, right, when not anybody knew what the internet was not too long ago. It’s definitely a little bit different, but it’s a more sustainable way to do transactions and so we’re building that infrastructure for that down the road.”
And Bill Spence one more time:
“There’s a direct correlation in art with us, with Bitcoin and cleaning up the environment.”
The case for PoW mining as the environment’s best friend is stronger every day. Bitcoin’s unique characteristics make it a force for good of epic proportions, and there’s nothing its enemies can do about it. Bitcoin doesn’t care. Tick tock, next block.
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