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After hiatus, Valatie hydroelectric plant is back on line


VALATIE – Following a nearly three-year hiatus, the Valatie Falls Hydro power plant last week started once again generating electricity.

“The plant was closed for almost three years,” said John Doran, who purchased the facility from a company that had planned to use the plant to generate power for a cryptocurrency mining operation but never did.

Doran operates PlugIn Stations Online, which sells and installs electric vehicle charging stations across the Northeast. 

He purchased the dormant plant in April 2020. It generates continuous hydroelectric power of 160 kilowatts, relatively small, but he is selling the power into the grid through National Grid.

Eventually, he plans to feed the power into the village of Valatie, as well as for local electric vehicle charging stations.

Doran worked with former owners Fred and Bob Munch, and Clevenstine Engineering.

It’s unclear why the previous buyers of the plant, a Las Vegas-based investment firm, didn’t run the facility.

Cryptocurrency miners use high-powered purpose-built computers to unlock the complex mathematical formulas that create cryptocurrency, or on-line money such as Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency can be sold for real dollars. 


Crypto mining has become controversial with environmentalists because of the high levels of electricity needed to power the computers. Miners are constantly on the lookout for sources of low-cost power.

Last year, for instance, a natural gas power plant in the Finger Lakes community of Dresden, Greenridge Generation, installed a crypto mining operation at the facility. That way, they are able to use their own power to run their computers.

And three years ago, a number of cryptocurrency miners set up shop in Plattsburgh, to take advantage of they city’s low-cost power thanks to an allotment from the quasi-public hydroelectric dams that operate in northern New York. Cryptocurrency miners also operate in the Buffalo area, which has access to low cost hydropower as well.

 


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