Hydro-Québec proposes new power rules for crypto miners

June 22, 2018
Chris Wheal

Hydro-Québec, the Canadian power utility, has proposed new rules that intend to address its problem of high demand from cryptocurrency miners and concerns over future supply.

Hydro-Quebec’s Outardes River Dam: Shutterstock

Earlier this week, the company suggested it may have to make electricity prohibitively expensive for new crypto miners as growth in the digital industry was putting pressure on the region’s producers.

New proposals

Its new proposal, however, would require blockchain companies to bid for power and quantify the benefits – such as job creation and investment – they would expect to generate for the province.

The system would allocate up to 500 megawatt hours to new applicants, on top of the 120 megawatt hours already given to existing initiatives – which are expected to enjoy unchanged tariffs.

“The goal of this process is to both maximize economic spinoffs for Québec and revenue for Hydro-Québec – in turn, pushing electricity rates down for customers,” the company said in a press release posted on its PR’s website.

It proposes an increase of C$0.01 per kilowatt hour, which would be about 20% above the industry standard price, and base any agreements on the benefits crypto mining companies would bring to the Québec province.

Quantifying benefits

The following criteria must be quantified:

  • Number of jobs created per megawatt hour
  • Total payroll of direct jobs in Québec per megawatt hour
  • Investments per megawatt hour

Low-cost power

Power rates in Québec remain among the lowest in North America, however, thanks to the proliferation of hydro-electricity project in recent decades and just earlier this year Hydro-Québec had been courting cryptocurrency miners due to surplus energy on its grid.

The response was “unprecedented” said Hydro-Québec, which now looks to regional power regulator Regie de l’energie to approve its new proposals.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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