The setting sun reflects off of power lines as a motorist travels on the Trans-Canada Highway in Walhachin, B.C., west of Kamloops, on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. The B.C. government is temporarily suspending requests for electricity connections from cryptocurrency mining operations, saying the decision is aimed at preserving the power supply while supporting climate action and economic goals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The setting sun reflects off of power lines as a motorist travels on the Trans-Canada Highway in Walhachin, B.C., west of Kamloops, on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. The B.C. government is temporarily suspending requests for electricity connections from cryptocurrency mining operations, saying the decision is aimed at preserving the power supply while supporting climate action and economic goals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. pauses electricity connections for crypto mining, citing ‘massive’ consumption

18-month suspension to give province and BC Hydro time to engage with industry and First Nations

The British Columbia government is temporarily suspending requests for electricity connections from cryptocurrency mining operations, saying the decision is aimed at preserving the power supply while supporting climate action and economic goals.

A statement from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation says 21 cryptocurrency projects are requesting a total of 1,403 megawatts, enough to power about 570,000 homes per year, or 2.1 million electric vehicles.

It says the 18-month suspension will give the province and BC Hydro time to engage with industry and First Nations as a permanent framework for cryptocurrency operations is developed.

Energy Minister Josie Osborne says in the statement that cryptocurrency mining consumes “massive amounts of electricity” by running high-powered computers around the clock, but adds “very few jobs” to the local economy.

B.C.’s electricity is generated almost entirely by hydropower, and the province says it has attracted “unprecedented interest” from cryptocurrency miners.

The statement says seven operational cryptocurrency mining projects and six more projects that are well advanced in the connection process won’t be affected by the suspension.

Their consumption totals 273 megawatts.

But, it says if new connections were allowed “unchecked,” energy that would otherwise be used to support the province’s CleanBC goals could be eroded, and little electricity would remain for projects with greater employment, economic and climate benefits.

RELATED: New record for electricity use broken in B.C. amid extreme cold snap

RELATED: British Columbians have lost $3.5M to cryptocurrency scams so far in 2021

BCHydrocryptocurrencyElectricity power market

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