Earlier this year, China started the crackdown on cryptocurrencies production, forcing miners are relocate to other countries mostly in Canada, United States, and Kazakhstan. In Southern Alberta, Canada, three natural gas sites are being targeted as potential hos of about one million Bitcoin mining machines.
A Nevada-based Black Rock Petroleum Company reached an agreement in July to run about one million Bitcoin rigs in Alberta. However, no timeline for the deal was announced through the term of utilizing the natural gas sites stated a 24 months’ timeline.
One million mining machines will be entering Alberta rigs, represent a significant percentage of China’s prior mining capacity, and could impact the province’s energy consumption. Alex de Vries, a cryptocurrencies analytics and economist, says that the multi-billion dollar investment in Alberta will not be different from that in China since it will utilize fossil fuels.
In China, Bitcoin miners used hydroelectric power for part of the year and coal for the rest of the year to power the mining process. In Alberta, they will use natural gas all year round, further worsening the CO2 emissions.
However, some experts cite some benefits of using natural gas, especially when tapped directly from the energy source. In such cases, mining companies can utilize flare gas from oil drilling and saving it from being burned.
It is not yet clear whether the proposed project in Alberta could mean a new tax base. But Black Rock claimed that many jobs would be created. However, it is unclear how many exactly. Still, there is a challenge of bringing huge mining rigs to rural Alberta. For example, more land will need to be cleared, and the site needs to be connected to the internet.
However, for such a project to commence in Alberta, it will need the approval of the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). It will also be required to follow the provincial rules governing the production of energy.