Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Justice confirms the break new cryptocurrency mining in British Columbia

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Large-scale cryptocurrency mining operations, such as this one in China, use enormous amounts of energy. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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The British Columbia Supreme Court has upheld the provincial government's right to suspend the electricity supply of new cryptocurrency mines.

In December 2022, the government decided to suspend new electrical connections for cryptocurrency mining for 18 months.

Conifex Timber, a forestry company that began mining cryptocurrency, then went to the Supreme Court of British Columbia to have the policy declared invalid.

Justice Michael Tammen, however, said Friday that the province's decision was reasonable and was not unduly discriminatory. BC Hydro's Christopher O'Riley had told the court in an affidavit that Conifex's proposed data centers would have consumed 2.5 million megawatt hours of electricity per year.

This amount is enough to power and heat more than 570,000 apartments, according to data on the electricity supplier's website.

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In a statement released Monday, Conifex s' is said to be disappointed with the court's decision and plans to appeal.

The company already operates a sawmill and a bioenergy plant in Mackenzie, approximately 160 kilometers north of Prince George.

She wanted to open new cryptocurrency mining companies in Salmon Valley, north of Prince George, and Ashton Creek, north of Kelowna.

Cryptocurrency mining consumes enormous amounts of electricity to run and cool banks of very powerful computers 24/7/365, while creating very little of jobs in the local economy, said Josie Osborne, of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

Before the government pauses new power connections for cryptocurrency miners, BC Hydro released a report outlining the headache they pose for the energy provider ;electricity.

The report says energy demand from cryptocurrency mining operations would challenge clean energy and electrification goals.

The very real prospect that by devoting such a large proportion of electrical energy to an industry, there would be less than energy for other uses, which could result in increased costs for all other residential and industrial customers in British Columbia.

A quote from BC Hydro Report

We continue to believe that the provincial government is missing several opportunities available to it to improve energy accessibility, accelerate energy availability, technological innovation, strengthen the reliability and solidity of the electricity distribution network in British Columbia and achieve more inclusive economic growth, explains the company Conifex in the press release published Monday.

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