Close-up shot of power supply units at ethereum mining farm — Photo

Quebec blockchain miners may face electricity cuts from grid operators

Quebec’s block reward miners are bracing themselves for energy cuts from the region’s grid operators following a complaint by public utility provider Hydro-Quebec to the distribution regulator Regie de l’energie.

The complaint was included in Hydro-Quebec’s Electricity Supply Plan 2023-2032, which predicts a 14% increase in the demand for electricity by the city. The report warns that the city’s electricity consumption could spike by an additional 25 terawatt-hours (TWh) in the 10-year window.

To slow the trajectory of the energy demands, Hydro-Quebec issued several recommendations, most notably cutting off block reward miners from the grid. A request has since been filed with Regie de l’energie to suspend the electricity allocation to block reward mining firms.

“Under this process, approximately 270 MW were slated to be dedicated to cryptographic use over the short term, but the allocation of the amount of capacity to this use would increase pressure on current balances,” according to the official statement.

It is not clear whether or not the grid operator will accede to the demands of Hydro-Quebec. The global energy crisis and an incoming winter have left Quebec’s block reward miners in a pensive mood, with some considering the possibilities of off-grid energy sources.

Apart from the option of cutting off miners, Hydro-Quebec rolled out several other options to slow rising energy demands. Demand response tools like the ‘Efficient Heat Pump Program’ for residential customers, the call for new tenders to add to production capacity, and the “proactive management of our generation resources.”

Miners are considering other sources of energy

Climate change advocates have been putting block reward miners to the sword over the economic impacts of their activities. This has forced some miners to explore other sources of energy to fuel their operations.

In North America, using waste coal products as a fuel source has been used by Stronghold Digital Mining. The mining firm purchased the abandoned Panther Creek Energy Facility and expects to process 4 million tons of waste coal within the first five years of its operation. 

El Salvador is looking to use geothermal energy from the nation’s volcanoes to mine BTC, while other jurisdictions are mulling over a switch to hydroelectric and solar energy.

Mining firms dependent on grids are currently facing a torrid time, with Iris Energy (NASDAQ: IREN) and Argo (NASDAQ: ARKBF) staring at the stark possibility of bankruptcy. Core Scientific (NASDAQ: CORZ), a BTC mining firm, says its shares tumbled by over 75% following an announcement that its cash reserves could dry up by the end of the year.

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