Last week, electric utility company Hydro-Quebec’s CEO Eric Martel told Bloomberg that they were receiving “hundreds of applications” by cryptocurrency miners. Since the company provides renewable energy and the demand is slightly lower for residents, they decided to allow miners to use the excess energy. However, the government of Quebec has other ideas.
The Premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, held a press conference on Friday in Montreal. He emphasized the importance of adding value to society, “If you want to come settle here, plug in your servers and do Bitcoin mining, we’re not really interested. There needs to be added value for our society; just having servers to do transaction mining and acquire new bitcoins, I don’t see the added value.”
However, Couillard went on to explain that companies or individuals who would focus on building “a real eco-system or a real technological transformation centered on blockchain,” are welcome. This is the case, even if they were to use cryptocurrencies to fund their set-up and projects.
Martel’s take on the subject is slightly different – he had been talking to over 30 cryptocurrency companies, “There’s a real craze for Quebec. I’ve got new LinkedIn friends from Russia, China and many other places. The phone has been ringing off the hook.”
But he stated that Hydro-Quebec would first ensure that residents receive the required amount of energy, “If all we do is connect the Bitcoin miners who have applied, we could create an issue for ourselves.”
Quebec is one of the largest hydroelectric power producers in the world. Hydro-Quebec alone has a generating capacity of 37,000 megawatts, which is why the company is also targeting data centers – Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google already have data centers in Montreal. Martel said, “If you think of the 10 biggest names in data centers globally, we’re talking to almost everybody. We have available land and our energy is 99 percent renewable. For a company’s branding, it’s much better when you can say your data center operates with renewable energy.”
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