Canada's Manitoba province has set an 18-month moratorium on new crypto mining operations, citing the possibility of the local grid being overwhelmed by new projects, according to local media reports.
"We can't simply say, 'Well, anyone can take whatever [energy] they want to take and we'll simply build dams'," Finance Minister Cameron Friesen, the minister responsible for the province's utility Manitoba Hydro, said on Monday, according to reports by CBC and CTV News Winnipeg.
The government will stop new crypto mining operations from connecting to the grid for 18 months. However, the existing 37 mining facilities will not be affected.
Neither the Finance Minister nor Manitoba Hydro responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.
Miners have flocked to Canada for its cheap electricity, with Manitoba having the second-cheapest electricity rates in the country after Quebec, according to reports.
An additional 17 miners have requested to connect to the grid, and their energy demand would total 371 megawatts (MW), the minister said. That 371 MW is roughly half the generating capacity of the Keeyask generating station, which went into full operation earlier this year.
Manitoba Hydro's debt has tripled in the last 15 years as it took on loans to built two new mega projects totaling CAD3.7 billion (US$2.75 billion), Keeyask and the Bipole III transmission line. About 40% of consumers' utility fees go to servicing debt, according to Manitoba Hydro.
Less formal inquiries total 4.6 gigawatts (GW) of power, according to Friesen.