Hydro-Quebec has proposed new rules for cryptocurrency miners that are hooked up to their grid. Under the new rules, there will be a total of 500 MW set aside for cryptocurrency mining, and the rate will be hiked by at least 1 Canadian penny (CAD 0.01) for cryptocurrency miners. Additionally, Hydro-Quebec will be able to decrease or shut off electricity a maximum of 300 hours a year in order to meet demand of normal customers in a shortage situation. Hydro-Quebec operates 63 hydroelectric power stations which produce 36,912 MW combined, so only 1.35% of Hydro-Quebec’s total electricity will be allotted for cryptocurrency mining.
This is somewhat positive news since Hydro-Quebec had temporarily suspended requests for electricity from cryptocurrency miners on 7 June 2018, so that there would be enough electricity to fulfill its obligations to supply the entire province. Hydro-Quebec is a public utility that is owned by the government, so naturally, it would want to keep rates low for average citizens rather than let cryptocurrency miners cause province-wide rate hikes.
Even though cryptocurrency miners will experience a rate hike and only a limited number of miners will be allowed to set up shop in the province based on these new rules, at least the ban on applications has been lifted.
Over 100 cryptocurrency mining organizations had requested power from Hydro-Quebec, exceeding 10 TWh, which would have amounted to over 25% of Hydro-Quebec’s total output. Cryptocurrency mining companies will now have to apply and go through a section process, where details on how many jobs they are creating, how much investment money they are bringing into Canada, and how much they will be paying their Canadian workers will determine if they are granted electricity. Also, the companies can outbid each other by offering to pay more for electricity.
Hydro-Quebec says, “The goal of this process is to both maximize economic spinoffs for Quebec and revenue for Hydro-Quebec – in turn, pushing electricity rates down for customers.”
Quebec is one of the regions in the world that Bitcoin miners have been flocking to due to an abundance of cheaper electricity in the region, but now it appears miners will have to go elsewhere. The 500 MW set aside by Hydro-Quebec will only be enough to power less than 1% of global Bitcoin mining.
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