The Globe and Mail newspaper, courtesy of Bloomberg, is reporting that the Quebec provincial energy regulator, Regie de l’energie, has authorized Hydro Quebec to levy a 3x premium on electricity prices to all new firms planning on mining cryptocurrencies in Quebec.
Cryptocurrency “mining farms” are warehouses that contain banks of computers cooled by powerful fans.
The computers consume considerable electricity as they solve math problems used to cryptographically secure transaction data fed into a particular cryptocurrency’s blockchain ledger.
Firms already mining crypto in Quebec will be exempt, says Hydro Quebec, but any new firms looking to take advantage of attractive Quebec hydro prices, until now, the lowest in North America, will have to pay 15 cents per kilowatt hour until Hydro Quebec figures out how to manage electrical supplies in the face of surging demand.
A ban on cryptocurrencies in China last year caused a number of crypto mining firms from there to fan out across the globe seeking friendly jurisdictions with cool climates and low energy prices.
Many others who witnessed last year’s Bitcoin and altcoin exuberance started their own brand new mining firms eager to cash in on an increasing interest in cryptocurrencies blooming across the globe.
Acute equipment shortages troubled miners last year, but equipment supplies are more liquid now as the Bitcoin prices tracks its fairly steady horizontal since late January.
Mining firms are using the current quietude to gear for what they anticipate as an inevitable forthcoming run up.
Canada is a largely stable location for business, and the province of Quebec’s 62 hydro dams, which the it claims provide 25% of all the power consumed in the world, dot the Quebec landscape.
But Hydro Quebec, says Bloomberg, is cautious about issues like winter demand. “We don’t want to send a message to the market that this (standard price) is the price for cryptocurrencies in Quebec,” Hydro-Quebec spokesman Jonathan Cote told Bloomberg by phone on Tuesday. “It’s more that requests are suspended until we have the proper framework determining conditions for that market.”