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British Columbia Takes Action to Regulate Crypto Mining Over Energy Concerns

The Canadian province of British Columbia is rolling out measures to regulate the electricity consumption of cryptocurrency miners, citing worries about high energy usage and limited economic benefits.

On April 11, Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation, announced that the province is addressing the significant energy consumption associated with crypto mining, which she argues generates minimal job opportunities and economic growth.

Proposed legislative amendments would empower the government to restrict or regulate the use of electricity by crypto miners, given concerns about the sector’s unchecked growth potentially straining the province’s electricity supply.

This move follows the suspension of new electricity connections for crypto mining announced in December 2022, affecting twenty-one projects collectively requesting 11,700 gigawatt hours of power annually.

Minister Osborne emphasized collaboration with British Columbia Hydro, the provincial utility, to ensure sufficient electricity for future needs, particularly for essential sectors like electric vehicles and heat pumps.

The province’s stance aligns with a Supreme Court ruling in February, affirming the reasonableness of BC Hydro’s embargo on crypto mining operations.

British Columbia joins Quebec and Manitoba as the third Canadian jurisdiction to impose limitations on crypto mining, aiming to preserve electricity for sectors promoting carbon emission reduction and job creation.

Ranked as Canada’s fourth-largest electricity producer, British Columbia faces challenges to future power generation reliability, according to a report by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

This regulatory shift reflects a global trend, with countries like Iceland redirecting renewable energy efforts from crypto mining to other sectors, such as agriculture.

British Columbia’s strategy aims to reallocate energy resources towards sustainable and economically beneficial sectors, marking a significant step in addressing the environmental and economic concerns associated with crypto mining.

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