Quebec’s energy manager to seek government approval to stop powering crypto miners

Hydro-Québec, the firm managing electricity across the Canadian province of Quebec, plans to reallocate energy supplied to crypto mining firms. 

According to a Nov. 3 tweet from Canadian lawmaker Pierre Fitzgibbon, the government will request a decree from the energy board to release the company from its obligation to power crypto miners in the province. Hydro-Québec allocated 270 megawatts toward the mining firms, but electricity demand in Québec is expected to grow to a point that powering crypto will put pressure on the energy supplier.

The report Hydro-Québec filed with the government’s energy board on Nov. 1 said temporarily reducing the power provided to mining firms could help prevent threats to the “reliability and security” of energy for Québec residents. The distributor reported it took into account the demand for electricity from green hydrogen, cryptocurrencies and greenhouse farming.

“The additional energy needs in winter are high, and this, without the addition of the load related to the balance of the block reserved for cryptographic use applied to blockchains,” said Hydro-Québec. “There are anticipated energy purchases of nearly 3 [Terawatt-hour, or TWh] in winter from 2025 and even exceeding 3 TWh in 2027.”

As part of the energy manager’s plan for 2023 to 2032, crypto firms were expected to grow by 0.7 TWh, reaching a maximum power demand in 2028. Crypto miners in Québec have been the subject of additional tariffs since March 2021, and also gave the province options to scale their operations so as to reduce the load on the power grid.

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Energy consumption is one of many factors crypto mining firms weigh when setting up shop, which has contributed to more than one U.S. state consider tax breaks for companies. Crypto adoption also seems to be growing across Canada, according to the Ontario Securities Commission. OSC CEO Grant Vingoe said in October that “more than 30% of Canadians plan to buy crypto assets in the next year.”