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B.C. suspends electricity requests for new crypto mining projects

Province says 21 projects will have connection requests put on hold for 18 months
The province has suspended the electricity connection requests of 21 crypto mining projects in B.C. for at least 18 months

It’s not just disgraced former FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried facing a glum holiday in the world of cryptocurrency.

The B.C. government says it’s suspending electricity connection requests from 21 projects looking to tap into the grid to mine cryptocurrencies.

The province said Wednesday the nearly two-dozen projects are requesting the equivalent energy needed to power 570,000 homes or 2.1 million electric vehicles every year.

“If these connections were to continue unchecked, much of BC Hydro's available energy to use strategically in support of British Columbia's CleanBC goals could be eroded by cryptocurrency mining projects, with little remaining to electrify projects that have greater jobs, economic development and greenhouse gas reduction benefits,” the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation said in a release.

BC Hydro won’t consider any new connection requests for at least 18 months, while projects at the early stages of connecting to the grid will also be turfed for the time being.

The province said the temporary suspension would give it time to develop a permanent framework for any future cryptocurrency mining operations.

The B.C. Utilities Commission has now been told to accept an application from BC Hydro to let it the shelve applications for new connections.

This decision comes amid the collapse of the FTX Crypto Exchange, in which investors lost billions of dollars.

Jamaican police arrested Bankman-Fried last week following an extradition request from American authorities who have charged him with fraud and money laundering.

“We've been approached by leaders in this space to say we need more regulation in this space. We need governments to play a more active role,” former B.C. innovation minister Ravi Kahlon told BIV on Dec. 2, days before he took on the new role of housing minister.

“What we've seen the last month in particular has really shaken the confidence of [crypto investments] across the board and I think before any work happens, we have to let the dust settle a little bit and to see what’s left after the storm.”

Electricity providers in both Quebec and Manitoba have also suspended new connection requests from crypto mining operations in their provinces.