Announced Wednesday, Mason County’s Public Utility District (PUD) commissioners decided to implement the freeze in order to consider the effect mining operations have on the local power grid, the group said in a statement.
The moratorium encompasses “computer or data processing loads related to virtual or cryptocurrency mining, bitcoin, blockchain or similar purposes.” Applications that have already been approved are not subject to the freeze, officials stressed.
The temporary ban on new operations came due to the “rush of cryptocurrency operations” the Pacific Northwest has seen, said power supply manager Michele Patterson.
“We need breathing room to study the local impact on power demands, the ability of the system to handle these energy-intensive operations, rate structure considerations and protecting the power supply of existing customers.”
Commissioners are also concerned that mining operations are unsafe, according to the statement.
“Other electric utilities have discovered ‘rogue’ cryptocurrency operations set up in homes or commercial buildings, with no consideration for safety,” the statement noted.
Mason County’s PUD is not the only utility provider to put a moratorium in place on cryptocurrency mining operations in recent months.
Washington’s Chelan County passed a similar moratorium earlier this year, as did a city in the state of New York. Both public utilities cited the electrical cost of mining and safety concerns as reasons for the prohibitions.
Similarly, the government of Quebec has temporarily disallowed new crypto mining operations from establishing themselves in the province, which has seen huge demand from the sector due to its surplus of hydroelectric power.
Hydro dam via Shutterstock