A cryptocurrency mining company has defended the provincial government’s right to suspend power connections to new cryptocurrency miners after losing a bid to force BC Hydro to provide vast amounts of electricity needed to operate its operations.
Conifex Timber, a forestry company that has expanded into cryptocurrency mining, has appealed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, seeking to have the policy declared invalid.
However, in a ruling issued on Friday, Judge Michael Tammen said the government’s move to suspend new connections for cryptocurrency mining for 18 months starting in December 2022 was “reasonable” and “unreasonable.” He said it was not discrimination.
BC Hydro CEO Christopher O’Reilly said in a court affidavit that Conifex’s proposed data center would consume 2.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity annually.
That’s enough to power and heat more than 570,000 apartments, according to data on the utility’s website.
Company wanted two new B.C. mines
Conifex said in a statement on Monday that it was “disappointed” with the court’s decision and was considering an appeal.
The company already operates a sawmill and bioenergy plant in Mackenzie, British Columbia, about 160 kilometers north of Prince George, but in a notice of civil action, the B.C. The temporary suspension of negotiations caused continued loss and damage to the company.
The company wanted to establish a new cryptocurrency mining company in Salmon Valley, just north of Prince George, and Ashton Creek, north of Kelowna.
The company has already begun negotiations with BC Hydro and paid $252,000 to move the project forward through the proposal process, according to the civil claim notice.
However, in December 2022, the British Columbia government announced a new plan to connect crypto mining operations to the electricity grid, pending a study on how the industry is impacting the province’s economic and environmental goals. It has stopped accepting requests for 18 months.
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Josie Osborne, Minister for Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, said in a written statement: “Cryptocurrency mining consumes large amounts of electricity to run and cool banks of high-performance computers 24/7, while at the same time has a negative impact on local economies. It creates almost no jobs.” Remarks at that time.
Crypto asset management poses a “difficult problem”: BC Hydro
Before the provincial government suspended new power connections for crypto miners, BC Hydro released a report outlining the “challenges” for utilities.
The report states that electricity demand from crypto mining operations will challenge clean energy and electrification goals as electric vehicles, heat pumps, etc. become more popular.
The report states that Bitcoin mining requires enough energy to power a “small country” and that a moratorium on crypto mining in China, Algeria, and some U.S. states has resulted in “cryptocurrency “Mining operations have significantly increased demand for electricity in British Columbia.”
The court ruling said connection requests from B.C.’s cryptocurrency miners over the past few years have “far exceeded” BC Hydro’s expectations.
The report said the government-mandated moratorium could “concentrate a large portion of the available electricity supply into one industry, reducing energy available for other uses and increasing costs for all other homes.” “This is in response to the very real prospect that there will be sexual harassment.” and industry customers in British Columbia.”
The state is already working to switch more households to electric heating and is also pushing for increased use of electric vehicles.
It also predicts an increase in electricity demand from industrial projects, from hydrogen power projects to new mines.
British Columbia Premier David Eby recently announced a $36 billion plan to expand the province’s electricity production.
Osborne told CBC in an interview last year that the moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining projects was to give the province time to consult with industry to ensure energy is put to good use.
“We don’t want to put our power at risk, which is why we must pause now and use it instead for the best opportunities in the future,” she said.
Conifex said in a statement on Monday that it believes crypto mining is part of its future.
“Conifex is working with the provincial government to improve energy affordability in British Columbia, accelerate innovation, strengthen the reliability and resilience of the electric grid, and achieve more inclusive economic growth.” We continue to believe that we are missing out on some of the opportunities available to us,” the statement said.