Court ruling upholds provincial government’s right to suspend power connections for new crypto miners after a cryptocurrency company loses bid to force BC Hydro to provide vast amounts of electricity needed to operate its operations was handed down.
Conifex Timber, a forestry company that has expanded into cryptocurrency “mining,” had appealed to the BC Supreme Court to have the policy declared invalid.
However, Judge Michael Tammen ruled on Friday that the government’s December 2022 move to suspend new connections for cryptocurrency mining for 18 months was reasonable and did not constitute unfair discrimination. .
BC Hydro CEO Christopher O’Reilly said in a court affidavit that Conifex’s proposed data center would consume 2.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity annually. That’s enough to power and heat more than 570,000 apartments, according to data on the utility’s website.
Energy Secretary Josie Osborne said when the policy was introduced that crypto mining consumes “huge amounts of electricity” by keeping banks of high-powered computers running around the clock, but adds “very few jobs” to local economies. He said he would not add it.
The company said in a statement Monday that it was “disappointed” with the court’s decision and was considering an appeal.
“Conifex is committed to helping the provincial government improve energy affordability, accelerate innovation, strengthen the reliability and resilience of British Columbia’s electricity grid, and achieve more inclusive economic growth. We continue to believe that we are missing out on some opportunities that are available to us,” it said in a statement.
Before the provincial government suspended new power connections for crypto miners, BC Hydro released a report outlining issues at stake for utilities.
The report states that electricity demand from crypto mining operations will challenge clean energy and electrification goals as electric vehicles, heat pumps, etc. become more popular.
The report states that Bitcoin mining requires enough energy to power a “small country” and that the suspension of crypto mining in China, Algeria and some US states has led to ” “Cryptocurrency mining operations have significantly increased electricity demand in British Columbia.”
The court’s ruling said connection requests from B.C.’s cryptocurrency miners over the past few years have “far exceeded” BC Hydro’s expectations.
The report said the government-mandated moratorium “concentrates most of the available electricity supply into one industry, leaving less energy available for other uses and increasing costs for all other homes and industries.” “This is in response to the very real prospect that this could happen.” Industry customers in B.C.”
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