The City of Baie-Comeau launched a public call for tenders on Tuesday to find takers for the 30 megawatts (MW) of energy it has for cryptographic use. In just 24 hours, five companies have expressed interest and two more are expected to raise their hands on Thursday, much to the delight of Mayor Yves Montigny.
“There are at least seven players who are interested in the 30 MW block in Baie-Comeau,” rejoices the elected official, speaking of an encouraging signal.
Published on the Government of Quebec’s Electronic Tendering System (SEAO), the call for tenders is due to close on August 19. However, promoters have until August 2 to respond. Then, the projects submitted will be analyzed in order to retain the one or those that are the most promising in terms of the expectations of the municipality.
Mayor Montigny believes that the municipal council could be ready to make a decision at the August 30 or September 20 public meeting.
The City hopes that these 30 megawatts allocated by the Régie de l’énergie in January 2021 will be granted to one or two promoters who would commit to using them for different applications, not just cryptocurrency mining. “We don’t want just one product, because, let’s say that product would work less in a few years,” explains the mayor.
According to him, the municipality “wants to be able to work in heat recovery, circular economy, research and development (in the field of blockchain) and optimize the possibilities of growth for the company as much as possible”.
Among the issues related to the file, there is that of land, in particular for the supply of services, but also the potential for growth, noted Mr. Montigny, speaking of the possibility that a greenhouse project making it possible to recover the heat generated by the servers is attached.
Baie-Comeau launched the call for tenders even though the transaction for the purchase of the Georges-Henri-Gagné substation has not yet been concluded with the Société en commandite hydroelectric Manicouagan, owned by Hydro-Québec. in part.
“We are launching the call for tenders, because we know that we will be able to (provide the 30 MW)”, affirms the mayor. Two projects are progressing in parallel to move forward: the acquisition of the Georges-Henri-Gagné substation as quickly as possible and the improvement of the current Bégin substation.
Work at Bégin substation could make it possible to take advantage of the excess 15 MW that the Résolu Forest Products paper mill was not using when it was in operation. “The paper mill has never been at the maximum consumption on its line,” underlines Mr. Montigny. This option would therefore in no way harm a possible relaunch of the company.
Currently, the City has 5 MW available from its own network, so there is no investment required. A promoter could choose to use this small block of energy while waiting to have access to the 25 MW more, suggests the elected official.
Remember that the development of the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector will allow Baie-Comeau to increase its income and, consequently, to fetch less of it from the pockets of citizens.
For each block of 15 MW, that’s $1 million in annual profits from the sale of electricity in the municipality’s coffers. This is what the contribution of the data hosting center operated by GPU.one in Baie-Comeau since 2019 represents.
GPU.one, it should be remembered, has an expansion project in the pipeline, but to carry it out, it needs an additional 15 MW. The company is one of those who have just shown interest in the call for tenders launched by the City.
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Blockchain: interest in the 30 MW available in Baie-Comeau – Le Manic
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