Quebec Had To Set New Rules For Energy Use Over Cryptocurrency Mining

June 8, 2018 9:49 pm Published by
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Québec announced on Friday that it was blocking all new requests from cryptocurrency mining operators seeking hydroelectric power so Hydro-Québec can still supply power to everyone else in the Canadian province, according to Fortune. 

Hydro-Québec released a statement describing the move came after “unprecedented demand” from the operators who run cryptocurrency mining platforms that use high amounts of power in order to generate virtual currency which has exceeded “Hydro-Québec’s short- and medium-term capacity.”

Hydro-Québec and the provincial government said they were coordinating on making up a new framework to grant new requests for cryptocurrency mining that would be sustainable. 

“The blockchain industry is a promising avenue for Hydro-Québec,” said company president Éric Filion. “Guidelines are nevertheless required to ensure that the development of this industry maximizes spinoffs for Québec without resulting in rate increases for our customers.”

The new guidelines will establish a new category of electricity consumers for the cryptocurrency miners that would have a block of energy reserved just for their businesses. 

They will also include plans to make sure that sector helps create as many local jobs as possible. 

“The measures announced today represent a responsible, prudent and practical approach to welcome top businesses from the blockchain tech sector, to contribute to the economic development of other sectors and to create spinoffs throughout Québec, while ensuring energy supply for all Quebecers,” said Québec energy minister Pierre Moreau.

Hydro-Québec is not the first company to take such measures, one energy company in Plattsburgh, New York in the United States also said it was forced to cut off crypto-miners due to their high energy usage levels driving up the costs of electricity for everyday consumers. 

Experts have even been warning that cryptocurreny mining may not even be economically viable, along with other environmental impact concerns such as pollution. 

Hydro-Québec said they commissioned a study to explore the economic potential for the cryptocurrency sector but their report showed it had little direct job creation compared to other energy-intensive sectors. 

The report did say one positive could be the ancillary jobs that would be created, such as software development and the manufacturing or repair jobs for the powerful computers used in cryptocurrency mining., Maureen Foody

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