There is no more energy available for cryptocurrency in Quebec, but Bitfarms has managed to find some in Baie-Comeau, where the company will settle to increase its bitcoin mining activity.
Bitfarms bought out a 2018 contract that Orion Technologies made with the municipality of Baie-Comeau, which operates its own electricity distribution network, for the use of 22 megawatts of energy.
This is an unexpected opportunity for Bitfarms to expand in Quebec, said Benoit Gobeil, senior vice-president of the company whose head office is in Brossard. “There are a few more left, but I’m keeping it a secret,” he said in an interview with La Presse.
For the City of Baie-Comeau, which has been working for a long time to attract cryptocurrency companies to its territory, the transaction concluded between Bitfarms and Orion Technologies is good news. “That means $600,000 in new revenue per year for the city,” said Mayor Michel Desbiens.
Orion Technologies gave up its mining project in Baie-Comeau, and Bitfarms seized the opportunity. The company whose shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange is active mainly in Quebec, in Sherbrooke, Farnham, Magog and Coaticook. The stock gained 15% yesterday, ending the day at $1.67. Over the past year, the stock has moved between $0.52 and $4.29.
At the end of 2022, Bitfarms ceased part of its activities in Sherbrooke, on one of its three sites which had aroused discontent among citizens because of the incessant noise generated by computers. The equipment will be reinstalled in Baie-Comeau, where the company plans to invest $5 million and hire fifteen people.
The government has decided to no longer allocate additional energy to the cryptocurrency sector now that Hydro-Québec’s surpluses are disappearing and the demand for renewable energy is on the rise.
Hydro-Québec had begun by being inundated with requests for supply from the cryptocurrency industry and had obtained from the Régie de l’énergie the right to limit the amount of energy allocated to this sector to 300 megawatts. Municipal distribution networks, such as in Sherbrooke and Baie-Comeau, had also been limited in the allocation of electricity to cryptocurrency activities.
Demand from this line of business faltered and there were still 270 of the 300 megawatts allocated to cryptocurrency that had not been allocated. Last year, the government decided that these megawatts would be reserved for uses other than cryptocurrency.