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British Columbia halts new power connections for crypto miners

British Columbia halts new power connections for crypto miners

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A government electric utility in the Canadian province of British Columbia will halt all new electricity requests from cryptocurrency miners for a period of 18 months.

The British Columbia government made the announcement in a statement Dec. 21, stating that the pause will allow the government and BC Hydro to develop a permanent framework that meets the needs of crypto miners and their residents and companies in the region can be better reconciled.

Josie Osborne, Secretary of State for Energy, Mines and Low-Carbon Innovation, said the move was taken to preserve the clean energy it provides to its residents and businesses that creates jobs and is greener.

“Cryptocurrency mining consumes massive amounts of electricity to run and cool banks with high-performance computers 24/7, while creating very few jobs in the local economy.”

BC Hydro currently offers seven crypto mining companies. Six others are in the advanced stages of connecting to the system, totaling 273 megawatts – these are not expected to be impacted.

However, new cryptocurrency mining projects will not be able to initiate the connection process with BC Hydro and projects in the early stages of the connection process will also be halted, it said, adding that 21 cryptocurrency mining projects are currently being applied for in total 1,403 megawatts of electricity.

The ministry found that this is equivalent to the energy needed to power about 570,000 homes or 2.1 million electric vehicles per year in the province.

Related: BTC’s energy consumption increases by 41% in 12 months, increasing regulatory risk

British Columbia’s Water and Energy Authority released a report titled “Crypto Conundrum” in December 2022, warning that an “unprecedented level” of requests for cryptocurrency mining operations could be straining and increasing the available energy supply electricity prices for BC residents It noted:

“BC Hydro’s available energy could be challenged by cryptocurrency mining operations, which could mean less energy for greener activities like electrification or hydrogen production and higher electricity tariffs for British Columbia residents.”

Statista reported that Bitcoin’s annual electricity consumption hit a record high in early 2022 at an estimated “204.5 TWh per year,” which is estimated to be higher than Finland’s total electricity consumption.

New York recently became the first US state to impose a moratorium on proof-of-work (PoW) mining, banning all new mining operations that are not 100% renewable energy based.

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