Crypto miners face energy refusal, restriction in Canadian provinces

The Canadian province of Manitoba has extended a moratorium on new requests to the government-owned Manitoba Hydro agency for electrical service for cryptocurrency operations. British Columbia (BC) had a similar suspension of service in place and has chosen a different but also restrictive path forward.

The Manitoba pause extension applies to crypto miners’ newrequests and “requests for electric service which have not resulted in the execution of an agreement to construct infrastructure.”

In November 2022, the provincial government paused electrical connections to crypto-mining operations for 18 months. Now the pause will last through April 30, 2026. At that time, the province plans to prepare a long-term solution, it said in an announcement, adding:

“Manitoba Hydro continues to expect unprecedented demand for electricity from new or expanding cryptocurrency operations. That demand has the potential to drastically increase our total electrical load.”

In 2022, then-CEO of Manitoba Hydro Jay Grewal said, “If we connected every cryptocurrency operator who’s shown interest in the last 16 months, we’d increase our total electrical load by 4,600 megawatts.” The organization’s total capacity at the time was 6,100 megawatts.

Source: HYDROVISION International

Hydro-Québec proposed reducing electricity provision to crypto operations temporarily in November 2022. New Brunswick banned the provision of electricity to new crypto operations in November 2023.

Related: Bitcoin miner Hut 8 takes stoush with Ontario power supplier to court

In December 2022, British Columbia announced it would stop making connections to new crypto miners for 18 months. That decision impacted 21 projects. On April 11, the BC government said it had introduced amendments to its Utilities Commission Act to regulate electricity service to cryptocurrency miners. Provincial Energy Minister Josie Osborne said:

“We’re working with BC Hydro to ensure we have the electricity we need […] and that includes regulating electricity service for energy-intensive cryptocurrency miners that create very few local jobs.”

The new amendments would make it possible for the BC government to prohibit, restrict or regulate service to crypto miners. BC has some of the lowest commercial and industrial electricity rates in North America.

Magazine: Crypto City: The ultimate guide to Vancouver

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