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British Columbia to Halt New Power Connections for Crypto Miners

British Columbia has suspended cryptocurrency mining operations due to a focus on clean energy and job creation.

For the next 18 months, a state-owned electric utility provider in the Canadian province of British Columbia will halt all new electricity-connection requests from cryptocurrency miners.

The British Columbia government announced the pause in a statement on December 21, stating that the pause will allow the government and BC Hydro to develop a permanent framework that can better balance the needs of crypto miners and the region’s residents and businesses.

The move, according to Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation, was made to preserve the clean energy it provides for its residents and businesses, which create jobs and are more environmentally friendly.

“Cryptocurrency mining consumes massive amounts of electricity to run and cool banks of powerful computers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while creating very few jobs in the local economy.”

BC Hydro currently serves seven cryptocurrency mining operations. Six more, totaling 273 megawatts, are in advanced stages of connection to the system and are not expected to be impacted.

However, new cryptocurrency mining projects will be unable to begin the connection process with BC Hydro, and projects in the early stages of the connection process will also be halted, according to the statement, which also stated that 21 cryptocurrency mining projects are currently requesting a total of 1,403 megawatts of electricity.

According to the Ministry, this is equivalent to the energy required to power approximately 570,000 homes or 2.1 million electric vehicles in the province each year.

The British Columbia hydro and power authority issued a report titled Crypto conundrum in December 2022, warning that a “unprecedented level” of requests for cryptocurrency mining operations could potentially strain the available energy supply and lead to higher electricity rates for B.C. residents. “BC Hydro’s available energy may be challenged by cryptocurrency mining operations,” it said, “which may mean less energy for greener pursuits like electrification or hydrogen production, and higher electricity rates for British Columbians.”

According to Statista, Bitcoin’s annualised electricity consumption reached a record high in early 2022, estimated to be higher than Finland’s total power consumption, at an estimated “204.5 TWh per year.”

New York recently imposed a moratorium on proof-of-work (PoW) mining, making it the first state in the United States to do so, prohibiting any new mining operations that do not use 100% renewable energy.

 

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