Quebec Pushes Hydropower Utility to Halt New Bitcoin Mines

Quebec is temporarily suspending new cryptomining operations from setting up facilities in its low-cost power region.

AccessTimeIconMar 23, 2018 at 10:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:44 a.m. UTC

The Canadian province of Quebec has temporarily put a halt to the development of new cryptocurrency mining operations.

The region – known for its cheap hydropower – has been an attractive destination for cryptocurrency miners looking to expand their businesses. Yet on Friday, Canadian newspaper Les Affaires reported that operators tied to utility firm Hydro-Quebec are turning down new clients, in part due to the demands placed on the hydroelectric dam by existing operations.

Quebec’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Pierre Moreau, said cryptocurrency mines require a lot of energy, but only generate a small number of jobs when compared to other factories, such as those which refine aluminum.

Further, he added, there is a possibility that the region would be unable to meet the energy demands crypto miners create, saying:

"The objective of government is to insure to all Quebecois that during winter, Hydro-Quebec doesn’t say, 'well, excuse me, I cannot provide [energy] because we're in the middle of mining cryptocurrency.'"

Indeed, a Hydro-Quebec document seemed to agree, pointing out that it would not be possible to supply sufficient power for every project that had applied to set up facilities, according to Les Affaires.

The plant had received applications for "projects representing many thousands of megawatts" in the last few months, according to the news service.

Officials are now working on new guidelines for cryptocurrency mining facilities. Once these guidelines are complete, authorities will begin considering applications again.

Editor's note: Some statements in this article were translated from French.

13 Valves Dam image via Shutterstock

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