June 12th, 2024

B.C. seeks to regulate electricity for cryptocurrency miners, citing huge demands

By The Canadian Press on April 11, 2024.

An advertisement for bitcoin cryptocurrency is displayed on a street in Hong Kong on Feb. 17, 2022. British Columbia is proposing legal changes that would allow the government to make permanent regulations related to the electricity used by cryptocurrency miners. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kin Cheung

VICTORIA – British Columbia is proposing legal changes that would allow the government to regulate the supply of electricity to cryptocurrency miners.

A statement from the Ministry of Energy says cryptocurrency miners consume large amounts of electricity to constantly run high-powered computers, while creating very few jobs or economic opportunities.

It says the legislative amendments would allow the government to prohibit or restrict provision of electricity to cryptocurrency miners because “unchecked growth” of the sector could make it challenging and more costly to provide electricity to homes and other businesses.

The province directed the BC Utilities Commission in December 2022 to suspend new electricity connections for cryptocurrency mining for 18 months.

The statement says 21 projects, requesting a total of 11,700 gigawatt hours of power per year, were temporarily suspended from receiving power.

It says that amount of electricity is more than double what the new Site C dam will be able to generate.

Proposed changes also include amendments to repeal sections of the Clean Energy Act used to create the former government’s Standing Offer Program to buy electricity.

The statement says purchases under the program, which was suspended in 2019, were made at well above market rates.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2024.

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