Canada’s Quebec province has halted all licenses for new currency mining projects while it reviews their power usage and fees.
Quebec’s energy ministry said it ordered Hydro Quebec to hold off on connecting new digital currency mining operations because it wants regulators set new roles for the industry.
It has further ordered its state-owned power generator Hydro Quebec to limit the total power available to all existing digital currency miners to a block of 500 megawatts. This is a fraction of the 17,000 megawatts in capacity requested so far by miners looking to operate in Quebec.
The region has received a surge in applications from global mining companies looking to take advantage of the region’s low power rates and the country’s political stability. The “unprecedented” energy demand from miners, reportedly exceeds the electric utility’s short and medium-term capacity.
The authorities will in due course propose a selection process for mining industry projects so as “not to miss the opportunities offered by this industry.” Regulators will target companies which can offer the region the most profitable economic advantages, including investments and local job creation.
In a statement Pierre Moreau, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources said "The measures announced today represent a responsible, prudent and practical approach to welcome top businesses from the blockchain tech sector, to contribute to the economic development of other sectors and to create spin offs throughout Québec, while ensuring energy supply for all Quebecers."
Cryptocurrency operations “mine” or create digital coins by solving complex mathematical puzzles, a process that requires large amounts of energy to run lightning-fast microprocessors and air-conditioning systems to cool computers.