British Columbia Halts New Electricity Connections to Crypto Miners for 18 Months

Canadian province British Columbia halted new electricity connection requests from crypto miners for 18 months, the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation announced Thursday. The decision comes as BC aims to support its climate change and economic growth goals and allow the government to develop a permanent regulatory framework for the crypto-mining industry.

British Columbia Halts New Crypto Mining Operations to Support Climate Change and Economic Goals

British Colombia announced an 18-month suspension for new electricity connection requests from crypto mining firms to facilitate its climate change and economic efforts. The move comes as the Canadian province hopes to alleviate power restraints and buy more time for its key electricity distributor, BC Hydro, to design a permanent regulatory framework for miners.

“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.”

– said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

Twenty-one crypto mining firms have submitted requests for a total of 1,403 megawatts of electric power, according to the province’s Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation. This figure is enough to power roughly 570,000 homes per year, or 2.1 million electric vehicles, the ministry added.

Seven existing crypto miners and six more that are in the advanced stages of getting access to electricity will not be affected by the moratorium, the ministry added. These crypto-mining projects deplete a total of 273 megawatts a year.

Leaving these connections unmonitored could significantly hamper British Colombia’s climate change goals. It would reduce the available electricity to power projects with better greenhouse gas reduction benefits, economic development, and a more significant number of jobs. That said, British Columbia has decided “to accept an application from BC Hydro for temporary relief from its obligations to provide service to new cryptocurrency mining projects” while authorities come up with a permanent regulatory framework.

Crypto Energy Consumption Poses Risks Amid Climate Change Threats

The issue of substantial energy consumption by crypto mining projects was brought up earlier this year after reports revealed that Bitcoin mining was responsible for 0.08% of global CO2e emissions. Separate research by Congressional democrats revealed that US crypto miners consume nearly as much electricity as every home in Houston, Texas.

These findings have urged global regulators to address the issue as the climate crisis remains one of the most pressing issues of our time. In October, the European Commission said it is working on an energy efficiency measure for cryptocurrencies to reduce consumption and “encourage more environmentally friendly crypto systems.”

British Columbia officials said that around 87% of its electricity comes from hydropower, which has sparked “unprecedented interest” from crypto mining companies. The restrictions follow similar moves by utilities in Quebec and Manitoba.

This article originally appeared on The Tokenist

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