On Monday, B.C.’s Supreme Court upheld the provincial government’s 18-month moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations that connect to the power grid. The moratorium, enacted in December 2022, is intended to give the province time to study the industry’s impact on B.C.’s economic and environmental goals.
The ruling came after Conifex Timber, a forestry company that recently expanded into cryptocurrency mining, challenged the moratorium in court. Conifex argued that the policy was causing ongoing loss and damage, but Judge Michael Tammen disagreed.
In his ruling, Judge Tammen said the suspension was not discriminatory, “reasonable” and in line with B.C.’s Public Utilities Commission Act. He cited evidence from BC Hydro CEO Christopher O’Reilly, who estimated that Conifex’s proposed mining data center would consume 2.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity per year, which would power more than 570,000 apartment units. It is said to be enough to provide electricity.
The judge explained that meeting the significant energy demands of crypto mining could reduce the amount of electricity available to B.C.’s residents and other industries. This can increase your overall electricity bill. The state is already promoting electric heating and automobiles in homes. Several major industrial projects, from hydrogen plants to mines, are also set to increase demand.
The moratorium temporarily halts new mining operations while the state consults further with industry leaders. Cryptocurrency mining faces intense scrutiny in several jurisdictions around the world due to its huge power consumption and scant local job creation.