The relocation of cryptocurrency miners to hydro-power abundant Quebec has been received with extreme caution of late, following an initial period over-exuberance on the part of local officials.
The future of Quebec’s mining industry has since gone through several hurdles, from the province’s ability to provide power during the dry winter season to the overlooked environmental issues of producing hydropower.
In the past few months, the Canadian province of Quebec has been looking to entice cryptocurrency miners, offering up cheap and abundant hydropower.
After boasting of 5000 megawatts of surplus electricity, the province’s state-owned power company, Hydro-Quebec, has taken a more guarded approach with regards to promotion of the proliferation of Quebec-based mining operations, after reassessing its ability to satisfy demand from both citizens and miners during the dry winter season.
Hydro-Quebec spokesperson Marc-Antoine Pouliot, has described the dry season as the main barrier to Hydro-Quebec’s ability to fulfill the constant energy draw generated by miners, recently suggesting that sanctions are placed on mining companies during winter.
“In Quebec, residential customers heat their homes with electricity. [As a] consequence, the demand can be very high when the temperature is below -20°C for a few days. We are now analyzing the effect of the [mining industry] on our winter peak. One of the solutions could be to oblige blockchain companies to suspend the activity during the winter,” Pouliot said.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has released an article claiming that the alleged modest ecological footprint produced through Quebec’s power production has come under more and more scrutiny.
Jeff Wells, a conservation biologist and researcher at Cornell University, has also issued a word of caution of the potential environmental consequences of increased miner activities, stressing the ecological pressures incurred through the construction of dams.
Wells asserts that the damage made by constructing the reservoirs required to hold a ready supply of water is too massive to justify any industry. He also added that said reservoirs are gradually overtaking forests and leading to the large-scale rotting of tree roots, which leads to the release of significant quantities of methane.
“You’re putting hundreds of thousands and eventually millions of acres under water. You’re putting a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and stopping the ability of that area to take any more carbon into the system. You’ve lost a whole ecosystem.”
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