The government of Quebec will reportedly lift its moratorium on the sale of electricity to cryptocurrency miners, sources familiar with the matter told local news Le Journal De Montreal May 30. According to Le Journal, the Quebec government wants to “avoid missing the ship” on cryptocurrency, and as such is moving ahead to lift the moratorium.
The Minister of Energy, Pierre Moreau, will reportedly introduce a decree on the regulation of electrical power sale to cryptocurrencies miners, who require massive amounts of power for their operations. Back in February, Moreau said that “we must ensure that this type of business is controlled, so that Hydro-Québec does not see all of its production capacity absorbed.”
Over 100 organizations with a total energy consumption exceeding 10 TWh have made requests to purchase power from Hydro-Québec. Hydro-Québec operates some 60 hydroelectric generating stations, with a surplus capacity of roughly 13 TWh.
According to Le Journal, such a high demanded was completely unanticipated. In January, Hydro-Québec CEO Eric Martel said they were expecting to sell five TWh to the crypto mining sector in the coming years.
The decree would reportedly set different rates for digital currency miners and allow energy companies to practice “forced offloading.” In other words, Hydro-Québec will be able to cut off power to miners during the 100 to 300 hours per year when the Quebec power grid is at maximum capacity. Hydro-Québec spokesman Marc-Antoine Pouliot said:
“Having interruptible customers during these critical periods makes it possible to connect more,” adding that, “[Hydro-Québec’s mandate] is to ensure the implementation of cryptocurrencies in Quebec by maximizing economic benefits and ensuring the stability of our electricity supply.”
In March, the Quebec government said it was “not interested” in providing cheap electricity to Bitcoin miners, adding that supporting crypto mining at a discount without any sort of “added value” for the local economy was unfavorable.
In April, Chelan Public Utility District commissioners in the US state of Washington ordered staff to enforce their moratorium on cryptocurrency mining following the discovery of unauthorized mining activities. Each mining point discovered by the commissioners was consuming enough electricity to cause concern for fire safety, as the facilities were not designed for industrial loads.