March 1st, 2024

Crypto mining company loses bid to force BC Hydro to provide power

By The Canadian Press on February 5, 2024.

The Law Courts building, which is home to B.C. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, is seen in Vancouver, on Thursday, November 23, 2023. A cryptocurrency mining company has lost a bid to force BC Hydro to provide the vast amounts of power needed for its operations, upholding the provincial government's right to pause power connections for new crypto miners. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – A cryptocurrency mining company has lost a bid to force BC Hydro to provide the vast amounts of power needed for its operations, upholding the provincial government’s right to pause power connections for new crypto miners.

Conifex Timber Inc., a forestry company that branched out into cryptocurrency mining, had gone to the B.C. Supreme Court to have the policy declared invalid.

But Justice Michael Tammen says in a ruling issued Friday that the government’s move in December 2022 to pause new connections for cryptocurrency mining for 18 months was “reasonable” and not “unduly discriminatory.”

BC Hydro CEO Christopher O’Riley had told the court in an affidavit that the data centres proposed by Conifex would have consumed 2.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity each year.

That’s enough to power and heat more than 570,000 apartments, according to data on the power provider’s website.

Energy Minister Josie Osborne said when the policy was introduced that cryptocurrency mining consumes “massive amounts of electricity” by running high-powered computers around the clock, but adds “very few jobs” to the local economy.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2024.

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