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Quebec has issued a moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations in a bid to give officials time to develop new restrictions and potentially increase energy costs, Reuters reported Thursday.
The Canadian province long known for its cheap hydroelectric power has formally stopped approving new projects in order to create new rules around which mining firms will be allowed to set up shop in the region, according to the news agency.
Further, Hydro Quebec, the state-owned power producer, hopes to limit the power that can be available for miners to 500 megawatts in total, or just “a fraction of the 17,000 megawatts” that miners have requested so far.
ydro-Quebec has been courting cryptocurrency miners in recent months in a bid to soak up surplus energy from dams in northern Quebec. Power rates in the province are the lowest in North America, both for consumers and industrial customers.
Regie de l’energie, as the provincial regulator is called, will be instructed to reserve a block of energy for cryptocurrency miners and to set a specific rate for the industry while considering issues including peak winter demand. Quebec wants to make sure Hydro-Quebec can maximize revenue while ensuring economic benefits such as job creation.
Hydro Quebec has also reportedly asked Quebec’s energy board to create new rates so as to “help maximize the energy producer’s revenue.”
This is not the first time Quebec has halted approvals for new cryptocurrency mining firms. As previously reported, Hydro Quebec briefly stopped accepting new clients from the space in March, citing the large amount of energy demanded by miners.
At the time, the firm produced a document stating it would be unable to meet demand if every mining project that applied for space was approved.
With new restriction rules, as Reuters reported, Hydro Quebec would be able to choose “the best among the companies” vying to develop facilities in the region.
This will in turn help the province grow its economy without resulting in higher costs for local residents, said Hydro-Quebec’s distribution president, Eric Filion, in a statement.