Manitoba In Canada Suspends New Electricity Requests for Crypto Operations Until 2026

    Key Takeaways

    • The decision was made to allow Manitoba Hydro more time to thoroughly assess the situation and develop a long-term solution.
    • The pause impacts new electricity service requests not yet tied to infrastructure agreements
    • Existing cryptocurrency operations are not impacted by the extension.

    Manitoba, a Canadian province, has extended its moratorium on new requests for electrical service for cryptocurrency operations until April 30, 2026. This extension follows the initial pause imposed in November 2022 due to concerns about the strain cryptocurrency mining could place on the province’s electrical grid.

    As per reports, the decision to extend the pause was made to allow the government and Manitoba Hydro, the province’s primary electric utility, more time to thoroughly assess the situation and develop a long-term solution.

    The pause specifically affects new requests for electricity service that have not yet resulted in agreements to construct infrastructure or supply electricity. Existing cryptocurrency operations are not impacted by the extension.

    In November 2022, Manitoba implemented an 18-month moratorium on electrical connections to crypto-mining operations. Manitoba Hydro expressed concerns about the unprecedented demand for electricity from new or expanding cryptocurrency operations, warning that it could drastically increase the province’s total electrical load.

    Former CEO of Manitoba Hydro, Jay Grewal, then highlighted the potential impact, stating, “If we connected every cryptocurrency operator who’s shown interest in the last 16 months, we’d increase our total electrical load by 4,600 megawatts.” This was significant considering the organization’s total capacity at the time was 6,100 megawatts.

    Manitoba’s decision to extend the pause reflects a broader trend seen in other jurisdictions.  This is the latest in a series of jurisdictions to pause the approval of new crypto mining operations, driven by the worry that the miners’ electricity usage might adversely affect local communities.

    Apart from the Manitoba, British Columbia has also taken a stern approach to cryptocurrency mining. In December 2022,  the province directed the B.C. Utilities Commission to suspend new electricity connections for cryptocurrency mining for 18 months. As per reports, around 21 projects, requesting a total of 11,700 gigawatt hours of power per year were temporarily suspended from receiving power.

    On April 11, the BC government said it had introduced amendments to its Utilities Commission Act to regulate electricity service to cryptocurrency miners. In its statement, BC said that the legislative amendments would allow the government to restrict the electricity requests of the crypto industry because “unchecked growth” of the sector could make it challenging and costly to provide electricity to homes.

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