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Bitcoin miner Greenidge Generation announces a $264 million data center near Spartanburg

Coin imitations of the electronic cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

A company that uses massive computer server farms to mine the cryptocurrency Bitcoin is planning a data center in South Carolina.

Connecticut-based Greenidge Generation Holdings says it will spend $264 million on the facility, off Interstate 85 in Spartanburg. The upstate South Carolina city is about 75 miles southwest of Charlotte. A first phase is expected to open later this year, and expansions are planned through 2025.

Greenidge says the data center will create 40 permanent technology jobs. State officials were not sure how much the jobs would pay. Greenidge did not respond to a request for more information.

Cryptocurrency mining is an energy-intensive business. It uses computers running around the clock to carry out calculations that process and verify transactions.

Cryptomining's massive energy use has raised concerns among climate watchers. Last fall, a group of nonprofit organizations asked Congress to consider environmental impacts as it weighs new regulations on the industry.

Greenidge owns a gas-fired power plant in New York state for some servers. The company said in its announcement that the Spartanburg site will have a 60% carbon-free energy mix and that it's committed to eventually becoming carbon-neutral.

It wasn't immediately clear Tuesday how Greenidge calculated that initial energy mix. Upstate South Carolina is served by Duke Energy.

"This is a significant step in Greenidge’s strategy to build upon our unique expertise at new locations across the country," Greenidge CEO Jeff Kirt said in a news release. "The site is ideal, with an energy mix that is more than 60% carbon-free, opportunities for additional growth and a business-friendly climate. We’re excited to hire great, local talent immediately and support nearby businesses as we grow our company here in South Carolina.”

Officials in South Carolina said the announcement was a sign of the region's ability to attract technology businesses.

“This kind of technology-fueled investment fits perfectly with our aim to diversify the types of developments, and therefore the types of jobs, we attract to Spartanburg County," said Spartanburg County Council Chair Manning Lynch. "We welcome Greenridge Generation and look forward to the impact they’ll have on the growing eastern side of Spartanburg County.”

The data center is not receiving any state tax rebates or other incentives for the project, said Alex Clark, a South Carolina Department of Commerce spokesperson.

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David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.