In a bid to keep eager hordes of cryptocurrency miners at bay, Quebec will be increasing electricity prices until a more sustainable solution for catering to the growing demands of the energy-intensive industry can be found.
As per a report by Bloomberg, the state-owned power generator Hydro-Quebec has been authorized to charge crypto and blockchain-related companies 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. This threefold increase in power prices is temporary and applies only to newcomers – existing users and their operations will remain unaffected.
Interest in Quebec as a potential new crypto mining hub soared earlier this year, after China imposed a ban on the activity and guided miners in the country toward an “orderly exit”. The Canadian province has plenty of surplus energy to offer and boasts the lowest power rates in all of Northern America, making it an ideal potential haven for crypto miners.
However, following the submission of an overwhelming number of applications, the Quebec government has not been particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of crypto miners monopolizing the province’s power sources. In March this year, the Quebec government announced that they were uninterested in catering to miners who could not contribute added value to the province. As per Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard:
“If you want to come settle here, plug in your servers and do Bitcoin mining, we’re not really interested. There needs to be added value for our society; just having servers to do transaction mining and acquire new Bitcoins, I don’t see the added value.”
In addition, earlier this month, Quebec put all approvals for mining projects on hold, in order to consider the possibility of imposing restrictions and increasing power rates for crypto-related operations.
This latest price hike by Hydro-Quebec appears to be a prohibitory measure while the province works on setting a fixed rate for the crypto industry, and considering how to accommodate miners while keeping issues like peak winter demand in view.