Quebec elections likely to be vote for or against crypto mining

October 01, 2018
Chris Wheal

If you’re a Quebecois going to the polls today, your vote is going to be an important one for the cryptocurrency mining industry as the two main parties appear to be taking opposing sides on the issue.

Hydro-Quebec’s Outardes River Dam: restrictions to crypto-miners could be lifted after today’s elections

On the centre left we have the incumbent Parti Liberal du Quebec which, earlier this year, ordered state-owned electricity supplier Hydro-Quebec, to restrict the sale and charge higher tariffs for power to crypto miners.

This was due strong growth in demand from the industry, which had initially been courted by Hydro-Quebec to sell more of its plentiful supplies of cheaply-generated hydro-electric-generated power.

Demand concerns

Quebec’s minister of energy Pierre Moreau had justified the restrictions, saying that crypto-mining used too much energy in comparison to the jobs it created. Furthermore, growth patterns suggested a possibility that the region may in future not be able to cope with demand.

Meanwhile, on the centre right is the Coalition Avenir Quebec, founded in 2011 by politician Francois Legault and businessman Charles Sirios, whose party is focused on bringing private sector jobs back to the province.

Crypto mining is extremely energy intensive and creates few jobs

This party has been leading the opinion polls for much of the year, a lead it held over the weekend coming in to Monday’s election.

No official position

While neither party has taken an official position on the particulars of crypto mining, many believe the Coalition, or other pro-business parties would relax the rules on energy usage for miners.

Conservative Party of Quebec veteran Adrien Pouliot claimed a couple of months ago the issue of crypto mining had been used as a political red herring.

He said the Liberal Party’s concern over power demand from crypto miners had been based on spurious proposals for mining projects that would need up to 18,000 megawatts – representing 40% of Hydro-Quebec’s total production and far more than it could risk supplying to one industry.

“Any expert in crypto mining worth his salt could have told you that this figure was only a speculative demand boosted on steroids, since the world’s current consumption of electricity by crypto miners is about 4,400 megawatts,” he claimed.

It appears, then, that a vote for the Coalition will be vote for cryptocurrencies.

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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