BC Hydro will put a hold on requests for energy connections from crypto mining businesses for 18 months in order to protect the province’s clean electrical supply and promote its economic and climate action goals.
The short-term ban will protect British Columbia’s electrical supply while providing the government and BC Hydro enough time to consult with business and First Nations and create a long-term framework for any potential future cryptocurrency mining activities.
“Cryptocurrency mining consumes massive amounts of electricity to run and cool banks of high-powered computers 24/7/365, while creating very few jobs in the local economy, We are suspending electricity connection requests from cryptocurrency mining operators to preserve our electricity supply for people who are switching to electric vehicles and heat pumps, and for businesses and industries that are undertaking electrification projects that reduce carbon emissions and generate jobs and economic opportunities.Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Miners of cryptocurrencies have shown an unusual level of interest in B.C.’s clean, inexpensive power. There are now 21 projects requiring 1,403 megawatts in total, which will be temporarily stopped. That translates to the energy required to fuel 2.1 million electric vehicles or almost 570,000 houses in British Columbia each year.
If these connections were to go unchecked, bitcoin mining operations might use a significant portion of BC Hydro’s available electricity, leaving little left over to electrify projects that would have higher employment, economic development, and greenhouse gas reduction advantages.
The Province has instructed the B.C. Utilities Commission to accept BC Hydro’s application for a temporary waiver of its obligations to provide service to new cryptocurrency mining projects for 18 months while the government develops a permanent framework in order to protect B.C.’s clean and affordable electricity.
Both new crypto mining projects and those in the early phases of the connection procedure with BC Hydro may be prohibited from starting the connection process. Existing cryptocurrency mining operations and a select few projects that are very far along in the connecting process with BC Hydro won’t be impacted. Other project kinds that don’t mine cryptocurrencies will still be able to connect.