Crypto miners in Quebec will still be able to benefit from cheap electricity, as long as they meet certain criteria. The Canadian province’s energy regulator this week created ‘blockchain’ as a client category in its own right, and ordered utility company Hydro-Quebec to set aside an extra 300 megawatt for the industry, in addition to the 368 megawatts already committed. Mining companies wishing to take advantage of the move will be judged on four criteria, including potential for job creation, planned investments, and what technology/initiatives they have in place for heat recovery from the energy-intensive practice.
Change in Government Favors Miners
Crypto mining in Quebec received a boost last year when the Parti Liberal du Quebec (PLQ), who had tried to wipe out crypto mining in the province, lost out to Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) in the local elections back in October. The CAQ was thought to be generally more pro-business, which has proved itself to be true with their decision to promote crypto mining in the area. The adopted proposal was chosen ahead of an alternative put forward by Hydro-Quebec, who suggested that miners bid for power. The decision ends a freeze that had been put in place to let the local government work out how to deal with requests from the burgeoning industry. Quebec offers the lowest power rates in North America and has seen surging demand in recent months, particularly as mining in pockets such as China become less attractive. A survey of potential clients by Hydro-Quebec illustrated that demand for energy from miners was still in the thousands of megawatts bracket, despite the price of Bitcoin crashing from its 2017 high.
Could Bitmain Take Advantage?
The news that Quebec is open to mining operations may be of interest to the beleaguered Bitmain, who saw discussions with PLQ about setting up a base in the province get constantly knocked back. This new deal may present an opportunity for them to shift their focus and get the company back on track.