Canadian Energy Provider Hydro-Quebec Proposes Stopping Electricity Supply to Blockchain Industry

The utility asked Canada's energy regulator to suspend the allocation of 270 megawatts that had previously been planned for blockchain industry in Quebec.

AccessTimeIconNov 3, 2022 at 8:53 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:01 a.m. UTC
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Hydro-Quebec, the energy supplier of the province of Quebec in Canada, proposed to stop providing electricity to the blockchain industry to battle growing power demand, the utility company said in a new proposal.

The plan doesn't explicitly mention what type of blockchain industry they are targeting, but the Canadian province has been an ideal place for crypto miners to setup due to its abundant sources of clean, renewable energy.

There had already been talks among the miners in Quebec that current rules are too restrictive to grow their operations in there. This new proposal could make it even more restrictive for the miners to operate in the province.

Hydro-Quebec's plan called for the Regie de l'energie, or Canada Energy Regulator, to suspend the allocation of a 270 megawatts (MW) already planned for the industry. "In light of the significant increase in the anticipated demand for electricity and the tightening energy and capacity balances, Hydro-Quebec filed a request with the Regie de l’energie regarding suspension of the allocation process to the blockchain industry," the company said in a statement. "Under this process, approximately 270 MW were slated to be dedicated to cryptographic use over the short term, but the allocation of that amount of capacity to this use would increase pressure on current balances," the statement added.

The new proposal also said that it anticipates an increase of 25 terawatt hours (TWh) or 14% in Quebec’s electricity demand over the 2022–2032 period.

Some of the miners that are currently operating in Quebec include Bitfarms (BITF), Hive Blockchain (HIVE) and Argo Blockchain (ARBK).

Bitfarms, which invested C$350 million in Québec since its inception and currently employs over 100 employees, said that its power agreement remains in place with Hydro-Québec. "Its power agreements with Hydro-Québec remain in place and expects that its current and future bitcoin production will continue for the foreseeable future without disruption," the miner said in a statement. "The Company continues to look to expand its operations in Québec and add more jobs across the region," Bitfarms added.

The energy use of the miners have been a topic of debate globally. Most recently, A group of seven Democratic lawmakers in Washington, D.C., led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), said they are looking into the energy usage and carbon emissions of the bitcoin mining industry in Texas, where many miners have setup their operations. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) also expressed concerns that bitcoin mining's enormous demand for energy in Texas is straining the state's grid, adversely impacting consumers and U.S. climate goals.

UPDATE (Nov. 4, 17:36 UTC): Adds comments from Bitfarms in 7th paragraph.


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