A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has ruled that a moratorium on BC Hydro’s cryptocurrency mining project is justified. According to the judgment published on Monday.
The moratorium was originally enacted in December 2022, but faced a challenge from Conifex Timber, a forestry company that has diversified into cryptocurrency mining. Conifex Timber was planning a mining operation with the Tsai Kay Dene Nation.
The ruling, handed down Friday by Justice Michael Tammen, found that the government’s December 2022 move to suspend new connections for cryptocurrency mining for 18 months was “reasonable” and not “unfair discrimination.” It was assumed that there was no such thing.
He noted that BC Hydro’s ban was determined based on cost of service, given the significant energy demands of cryptocurrency mining and with the aim of maintaining affordable energy access for a broader population. .
British Columbia government suspends cryptocurrency mining due to power consumption concerns
Conifex Timber, a forestry company that is involved in cryptocurrency mining, had challenged this policy in court and sought to have it declared invalid.
But BC Hydro CEO Christopher O’Reilly said Conifex’s proposed data center would consume a staggering 2.5 million megawatt-hours a year, enough to power and heat more than 570,000 apartments. He testified that it was the amount.
Energy Secretary Josie Osborne cited crypto mining’s “enormous” electricity consumption and limited ability to create jobs as the reasons behind the policy. Judge Tammen highlighted the unique power consumption characteristics of virtual currency mining centers, stating:
“Evidence amply demonstrates that cryptocurrency mining centers have unique power consumption characteristics…megawatts required to meet all interconnection demands from cryptocurrency operations in 2023. Hourly volumes were significantly higher than BC Hydro’s expectations.”
But before the government’s decision, BC Hydro released a report outlining the challenges it poses to the utility. The report highlighted how electricity demands from crypto mining operations could conflict with clean energy and electrification goals, especially as the adoption of electric vehicles and heat pumps increases.
The court’s ruling highlighted that connection requests from cryptocurrency miners in British Columbia far exceeded BC Hydro’s expectations, prompting the government to initiate the moratorium. The purpose of this outage was to prevent a scenario in which a large proportion of the available electricity supply was allocated to one industry, which could lead to increased costs for other residential and industrial customers in the state. .
Additionally, the state has already taken steps to move more households to electric heating and promote the use of electric vehicles. Additionally, demand for electricity is expected to increase due to industrial projects such as hydrogen power projects and new mines.
Conifex Timber seeks two new BC mines
Energy Minister Josie Osborne explains In an interview with CBC Last year, a moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining projects was aimed at allowing time for consultations with the industry to ensure that energy resources are optimally utilized. The goal is to prioritize the best opportunities for future power use.
However, Conifex Timber expressed disappointment in continuing the ban, believing it would be a missed opportunity for the state. The company highlighted potential benefits such as improving energy affordability, accelerating technological innovation, and strengthening grid reliability and resilience, contributing to more inclusive economic growth.
The company had plans to establish new cryptocurrency mining operations in Salmon Valley and Ashton Creek. Still, the company claims that the government’s moratorium has halted negotiations and continues to cause losses and damages.
A moratorium on negotiations on new cryptocurrency projects has been initiated pending an investigation into the industry’s economic and environmental impact. The move is in line with similar steps taken by other Canadian provinces to regulate crypto mining operations, reflecting concerns about energy consumption and job creation.
The ruling in British Columbia comes amid similar regulatory actions around the world, including New York state imposing a two-year moratorium on crypto mining in November 2022. But British Columbia is also home to eco-friendly crypto mining projects like Ocean Falls Technology – which is building a grid and extracting isolated electricity from hydroelectric power plants in abandoned mining towns. and contribute to zero carbon emissions.