Tech 31 May 2018Dennis Wafula
Quebec to lift ban on energy sale to cryptocurrency miners: report
The Quebec government is planning to lift its ban on electricity sales to cryptocurrency miners according to local reports. The moratorium was imposed in March on grounds that the industry “could absorb a large amount” of Quebec’s surplus energy, resulting in limited cryptocurrency mining activities in the Canadian province.
Several months later, the provincial government now wants in on the cryptocurrency industry, according French-language Le Journal de Montreal. Minister of Energy Pierre Moreau has reportedly tabled a proposal to regulate the sale of electrical power to cryptocurrency miners. The decree seeks to find a cheaper electric solution that will favor cryptocurrency mining while maintaining the stability of electric supply.
Quebec enjoys cheap electricity thanks to the Hydro-Quebec’s network of 63 hydroelectric power stations. This, along with China’s ban on cryptocurrency mining, has reportedly resulted in miners migrating to the country. The increase in mining activities, in turn, caused electric consumption surge. In a statement to reporters, a Hydro-Quebec spokesperson said cryptocurrency mining was consuming about a quarter of its electric capacity.
This formed basis for Hydro-Quebec’s ban on electricity sales to cryptocurrency miners in March. For months, has been little to no crypto mining activities in Quebec. However, the authorities are warming up to cryptos and reconsidering their position concerning their mining.
New regulations will provide crypto miners the much needed electricity to continue their operations—but they will have to pay different rates and electric companies may opt to “forced offload” them. For Hydro-Quebec, this means having the capability to cut off power during 100 to 300 hours per year when its power grid is operating beyond its capacity.
Due to the high electric power demand by crypto miners, new regulations and bans have similarly been created to prevent electricity shortage in other countries. Earlier this year, New York imposed regulations that required all mining companies to pay premium rates for electricity. Last month, Washington, through the Chelan County PUD commissioners, declared a ban on cryptocurrency mining after the electric demand skyrocketed.
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