Nelson council has decided large computing complexes have no place in the city. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson council has decided large computing complexes have no place in the city. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson council bans bitcoin mining, ‘industrial scale computing’ from city

Bitcoin mining and data centres have huge electrical footprints, council says

Nelson City Council has banned data centres, bitcoin mining and other computer process it calls “industrial scale computing” in the city.

“There is a lot of chat about how we are positioned as a tech-ready community,” Councillor Keith Page said at council’s March 9 meeting.

“But we are putting some containment around what is an appropriate use of electrical consumption. (This bylaw) restricts bitcoin mining (and data centres) that consume the equivalent of nine or 10 homes.”

Council has defined industrial scale computing as “use of premises for the purpose of housing computer systems that collect, maintain, store, and/or process data for profit, exceeding an electricity consumption of nine megawatt-hours per month.”

Page defines bitcoin mining as “purpose built computers tasked to solve artificially difficult math problems to mint new coins and validate transactions on a particular blockchain (virtual ledger).”

It was announced at the meeting that there has already been industry interest in the Nelson area.

The electrical consumption issue is particularly interesting to Nelson because, unlike most municipalities, it owns its own electrical utility, Nelson Hydro.

“If you are burning a neighbourhood’s worth of power to make a couple of bitcoins that is not an appropriate use of residential property,” Page said. “This is not a ban on bitcoin but there is a time and a place for that, and it is not in your basement.”

A staff background report to support the ban includes the following information:

• Nine megawatt-hours is equivalent to the power used by 10 homes.

• Crytocurrency mining and data centres have a large carbon footprint.

• According to the federal government, data centres consume about one per cent of the total electricity used in Canada every year.

• According to economist Alex de Vries, a single bitcoin transaction uses as much electricity as a typical Canadian home would consume in a month.

• Nearly a dozen Québec municipalities have placed a moratorium on new crypto-mining operations, saying that they take up too much space and electricity, generate too much noise from ventilation fans, and create too few jobs.

• A 250-megawatt bitcoin mining operation (which would require the equivalent of 16 of Nelson Hydro’s Bonnington Falls generation facilities to power) would create about 100 jobs.

READ MORE: Cost of a single Bitcoin exceeds $50,000 for first time



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

The Columbia Valley Wetlands are known for their extensive and fragile ecosystem. (File photo)
Wildsight speaks out against logging in Columbia Wetlands

Located 50 kms south of Golden, the proposed operation was justified as bark beetle management

Residents, especially those with yards with long grass and wooded areas, are encouraged to check themselves and their pets for ticks after being outside. Ticks have reportedly been found in Golden near the pump track. File photo
Ticks found in Golden as spring approaches

Between five and 10 people each year go to hospital in Golden for ticks

Community forest (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Bringing a community forest to Golden

The Golden and Area A Community Forestry Team provides an update

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Firefighters battled a burning home on farmland in the north end of Vernon Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Homeowner taken to hospital after Vernon home destroyed by fire

Firefighters engaged in a lengthy battle against the engulfed structure Saturday afternoon

Members of the Okanagan Screen Arts Society received a cheque for $1,500 Thursday, April 15, 2021. The funds are to help the society’s efforts as they prepare take over operation of the Vernon Towne Cinema at the end of July. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Okanagan dealership gives local cinema a lift

Vernon Watkin Motor Ford, in business for more than 100 years, donated to the theatre with nearly as long a history

Vernon Jubilee Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over in surgical unit of Vernon hospital

The outbreak affected four staff, 10 patients and led to three deaths in just over two weeks

A group of youth in Kelowna's Knox Mountain Park are suspected as having violated the B.C. Wildlife Act by harassing a pair of nesting bald eagles with a drone Friday, April 16, 2021. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Nesting bald eagles harassed by youth-piloted drone in Kelowna

Conservation Officers are hoping to hear from anyone who witnessed the Knox Mountain incident

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Most Read