The provincial government of Quebec has announced that it is temporarily halting all energy approvals for cryptocurrency mining operations, according to a report from Reuters. The decision was made in response to a request from state-run energy company Hydro Quebec that asked regulators to reassess energy fees and place limits on the amount of power miners can access.
Hydro Quebec has been directed to refuse connection to new mining customers while the government considers the issue. The energy firm has requested that miners be restricted to 500 megawatts of energy, which Reuters described as “enough energy to run a single aluminum smelting plant.”
Quebec has become an attractive destination for digital currency miners recently, thanks in large measure to its low energy costs. According to reports, mining companies seeking to establish operations in the province have requested 17,000 megawatts of energy to power their activity.
Meanwhile, officials in Quebec are trying to balance the interests of consumers with their desire to ensure that the province continues to be a welcoming place for business and innovation:
The province will establish rules that enable it to welcome “the best among the companies” from the cryptocurrency sector, Quebec Energy Minister Pierre Moreau said in a statement.
Hydro-Québec Distribution President Eric Filion said in a statement that new rules are required to ensure that the digital mining industry helps expand the province’s economy and does not result in higher power rates for its residents.