Quebec Freezes Crypto Mining Power Requests Amid Excessive Demand
Canada’s biggest electric utility Hydro-Quebec will temporarily halt processing requests from cryptocurrency miners due to “unprecedented” demand that has exceeded the company’s short and medium-term capacity.
In a press release dated June 7, the utility company noted that the directive to stop processing such requests came through a ministerial order. An “Order-in-Council” also instructed the provincial regulator, Régie de l’énergie, to address concerns hounding electricity sales to companies in the blockchain industry.
The council had five specific concerns: 1) categorization and specific rate setting for blockchain customers; 2) reserving a block of energy for these customers; 3) revenue maximization, 4) job creation; and 5) winter peak period issues.
To address the above concerns, Hydro-Quebec announced that:
“In coming days, Hydro-Québec will file an application with the Régie de l’Énergie proposing a selection process for blockchain industry projects in light of the concerns expressed by the Québec government in its Order-in-Council. The application will highlight the importance of rapidly moving forward so as not to miss the opportunities offered by this industry.”
Reuters, previously, reported Hydro-Quebec had asked the provincial regulator to limit the total power available for all crypto-miners to a single 500MW block. This is far below the 17,000MW that has so far been requested by Quebec-based crypto-miners, and highlights just how much demand has grown.
Considering that Hydro-Quebec’s total capacity is estimated at slightly above 40,000MW, this means that crypto-miners have requested to use over 40% of the utility company’s entire network capacity. Crypto-miners should not have been surprised by this latest announcement since this is not the first time their electricity requests have been temporarily stopped.
Not the First Time Mining Electricity Requests Have Been Halted
In March 2018, it was reported that the company had put a similar moratorium on such requests, with a spokesman from the company saying:
“At the moment, the volume of requests that we have received from the cryptomining scene is very large…”We’re talking about more than 10,000 megawatts.”
According to local news reports, the March moratorium was only lifted at the end of May and Hydro-Quebec would implement new rates and “forced load shedding” on crypto-miners. This means that, during times of higher capacity requirements, the amount allocated to these companies would be reduced accordingly.