Baie-Comeau, a Quebec town of 21,000, is betting on the development of cryptocurrency

Technicians work on miners at the Bitfarms bitcoin mine in Magog, Que. on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The City of Baie-Comeau, about five hours northeast of Quebec City, is delighted with the recent decision of the Regie de l'energie, which further opened the door to the distribution of electricity allowing the existence of a cryptocurrency network for remuneration.

Baie-Comeau Mayor Yves Montigny believes that the municipality was able to demonstrate to Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonatan Julien and to Hydro-Quebec president and CEO Sohie Brochu that it had the will and the know-how to welcome this type of business in order to develop its economy.

The City of Baie-Comeau, therefore, has the green light to enter into agreements with data centers or cryptocurrency companies for an additional block of 30 megawatts.

To illustrate what this represents for the city's coffers, Montigny gave the example of an already established company, GPU.ONE which, by currently using 12.5 megawatts, allows Baie-Comeau to generate annual profits of about $1 million for the sale of electricity.

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency used on the web that is independent of banking networks. It requires technology using powerful and energy-intensive computers.

During periods of high demand for electricity, Hydro-Quebec and municipal networks like the one in Baie-Comeau may stop distributing electricity to cryptocurrency companies for up to 300 hours per year. In the case of GPU.ONE, the agreement provides for an interruption of 400 hours.

To move forward with future developers, the next step for Baie-Comeau will be the acquisition of the Georges-Henri-Gagne substation; negotiations are already underway.

The Regie de l'energie reports that at present, 190.6 megawatts on the Hydro-Quebec network and 250.7 megawatts within the municipal networks are authorized to be used for cryptocurrency mining purposes.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2021.

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