Canadian electric utility Hydro-Quebec may raise energy rates for crypto businesses due to an influx of requests from miners hoping to take advantage of its cheap rates.
More than 100 crypto mining companies have approached Hydro-Quebec, spokesman Marc-Antoine Pouliot told CTV News Montreal, and a few have already settled in the province. Notably, Pouliot said some farms would consume more than 20x the power required for Montreal's sports and entertainment complex, The Bell Centre.
"One project like that isn't a problem, but now we're talking hundreds," Pouliot was quoted as saying.
As reported by CoinDesk last month, Hydro-Quebec initially sought to attract large tech companies to the province with its low rates, but the cheap energy and cold weather – ideal for keeping mining machines cool – attracted mining companies as well.
Hydro-Quebec has a surplus of energy, which makes miners "interesting clients," according to Pouliot.
However, the demand has caused the company to consider an industry-specific rate change – which in the past has only been realized in the form of discounts – to protect its surplus.
The news comes at a time when some mining hotspots are considering larger measures to manage the farms' energy consumption.
Earlier this week, an Icelandic lawmaker proposed a tax on bitcoin mining companies, citing their lack of a contribution to national tax revenue. The country has extensive geothermal energy resources, and like Quebec, offers a cold climate that mitigates the heat output of mining machines.
Hydroelectricity power station via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.