The premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, has temporarily halted the approval of new mining operations partnering with the province’s state-owned power company, Hydro-Quebec.
Hydro-Quebec Halts Approval of New Mining Operations From Offshore Applicants
The company states that “Although it has a large volume of electricity to meet the different needs of customers in the territory,” it will not be able to accept all mining applicants, adding that “In recent months, we have received [proposals for] projects representing several thousand megawatts.”
“Hydro-Quebec Distribution will not be able to supply the totality of the installations targeted by the projects which have been presented to it. currently being analyzed, in particular, because of their impact on demand during winter peaks.”
The company states that it is currently “working to develop guidelines to determine which of the projects received in the blockchain sector can be accepted, as well as the tariffs and conditions applicable to this sector.”
Sources State Government Intervention Spurred Hydro-Quebec’s Decision
Hydro-Quebec’s decision to temporarily halt new partnerships with offshore mining companies has been met with surprise, as the company had recently made efforts to double its revenues to $30 billion by 2030 – with commercial strategies targeting the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries comprises a major source of the anticipated revenue.
According to local media citing an anonymous source close to company, “Hydro-Québec had the management of the cryptocurrency market confiscated” and received “an order to wait quietly for new instructions from the government.”
Quebec cabinet member, Pierre Moreau, addressed the clampdown on new large-scale mining operations, stating that “The objective of the government is to assure all Quebecers that during winter peaks, Hydro-Quebec does not say, ‘well, listen, I can not provide because we are in the process of mining cryptocurrency.‘”
Domestic Mining Operations Proliferate
The founder of a Montreal-based bitcoin consulting firm, Jonathan Hamel, has stated that the Couillard administration’s decision “is not surprising considering the government’s hostility to technological change.” Mr. Hamel states that the Couillard government previously “attempt[ed] to ban Uber,” and has pushed for stronger “taxation of the giants of the web,” adding “Mr. Couillard seems to be inspired by regulatory surges in the European Union, a strategy that has the effect of scare investors.”
The number of local mining operations in the province appears to have rapidly proliferated, with Hydro-Quebec indicating that it has received supply requests from individuals consuming 5,000% more power than the average home.