Blockchain industry in Québec

Hydro‑Québec is reserving a block of 300 MW for the blockchain industry. Companies will be determined through a selection process.

Selection process

On June 5, 2019, Hydro-Québec launched a request for proposals (RFP) regarding the allocation of a 300 megawatt (MW) block of power and associated energy to non-firm service for cryptographic use applied to blockchains, including a block of at least 50 MW reserved for projects of 5 MW or less. This RFP is further to a decision issued by the Régie de l’énergie on April 29, 2019 [PDF 334 kB – in French only].

Régie de l’énergie decision

April 29, 2019 – The Régie de l’énergie issued a decision [PDF 1 MB – in French only] regarding the rates and conditions for cryptographic use applied to blockchains. In its decision, the Régie de l’énergie:

  • approved the creation of a new consumer category.
  • approved the creation of a reserved block (300 MW), of which at least 50 MW must be allocated to projects of 5 MW or less.
  • approved the request for curtailment during peak periods (300 hours per winter).
  • approved the customer selection process.

Hydro-Québec press release

The blockchain industry is a promising avenue for Hydro‑Québec. Guidelines are nevertheless required to ensure that the development of this industry maximizes spinoffs for Québec without resulting in rate increases for our customers.

Éric Filion, President of Hydro‑Québec Distribution

Background to the decision

  • April 29, 2019 – The Régie de l’énergie issued a decision [PDF 1 MB – in French only] regarding the rates and conditions for cryptographic use applied to blockchains.
  • July 17, 2018 – The Distributor updated the text of the modified articles in the provisional rates and conditions of service [PDF 174 Kb], following the Régie de l’énergie’s decision D-2018-084 rendered July 13, 2018.
  • July 13, 2018 – The Régie de l’énergie rendered a provisional decision (safeguarding order and procedural framework) [PDF 710 Kb] regarding the rates and conditions applied to blockchains (in French only). In its decision, the Régie de l’énergie:
    • Approves the new customer category until a final decision is rendered.
    • Provisionally approves the proposed conditions of service and the disincentive rate.
    • Accepts Hydro-Québec Distribution’s request to set specific conditions of service applicable to municipal systems for all installed loads in place and for all capacities confirmed in writing by the municipal systems and accepted in writing by the customers prior to June 7, 2018 (see page 36).
    • Sets the deadlines for this docket (see page 38).
    All requests for electricity service and all connection requests for cryptographic use applied to blockchains are suspended until the Régie de l’énergie sets new rates and conditions.
  • June 28, 2018 – The Régie de l’énergie issues an interim safeguarding order [PDF 504 Kb] extending its temporary decision from June 18, 2018 to July 13, 2018. (in French only)
  • June 26–27, 2018 – Public hearings held at the Régie de l’énergie.
  • June 21, 2018 Hydro-Québec proposes a selection process to the Régie de l’énergie for blockchain industry projects in light of the concerns expressed by the Québec government in its Order-in-Council.
  • June 18, 2018 – The Régie de l’énergie issues an order partially granting Hydro-Québec’s application. The Régie de l’énergie notably:
    • Provisionally approves the new category for consumers using cryptography as applied to blockchains.
    • Sets provisional rates and conditions of service proposed by Hydro-Québec Distribution under which electricity is distributed by Hydro-Québec for consumers using cryptography applied to blockchains.
    • Sets the public hearings for June 26–27, 2018.
  • June 14, 2018 – Hydro-Québec Distribution submits to the Régie de l’énergie an application relative to the setting of rates and conditions of service for consumers using cryptography applied to blockchains. (in French only)
  • June 7, 2018The Government of Québec announces the adoption of a new framework for electricity consumption related to consumers using cryptography applied to blockchains. (in French only)
    • This framework is required given the unprecedented demand from companies in this booming industry.
    • The Québec government:
      • Issued a ministerial order to temporarily halt Hydro‑Québec’s processing of requests from this category of consumers so that the government-owned company can continue to fulfill its obligations to supply electricity to all of Québec.
      • Issued an Order‑in‑Council that instructs the Régie de l’énergie to address the conditions governing the sale of electricity to companies in this industry, taking into account the following concerns:
        • the definition of a new category of electricity consumers for the blockchain industry and a rate specific to this category
        • the need for a reserved block of energy for this category of consumers
        • the possibility of maximizing Hydro‑Québec’s revenues
        • the possibility of maximizing the economic spinoffs in Québec, mainly with respect to job creation
        • the need to consider issues related to the winter peak period

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