Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s largest utility has been forced by the government to restrict energy supplies to industrial customers, including fish processing plants and aluminum producers. Consumers with short-term curtailable contracts were also affected. The company has been refusing new bitcoin miners and data centers that mine digital currencies.
Bloomberg reported that Landsvirkjun explained why the reduction was necessary citing a problem at a power plant and low water levels. A delay in sourcing electricity from an outside producer also caused problems for the supplier. On Tuesday, the utility announced that the cuts would be effective immediately.
Tinna Traustadottir (executive vice president of sales, customer service and sales at Landsvirkjun) noted that the deficit has also been influenced by an unusually high demand for electricity. While Iceland’s huge smelters have been a significant consumer for many decades, a growing number cryptocurrency miners attracted to the island’s low energy are also playing a part.
Among the crypto mining companies that have already established coin minting facilities in the country are the Canadian Hive Blockchain Technologies and Bitfury Holding, both listed in Hong Kong. Landsvirkjun stated that it is now refusing to accept new requests from the mining sector.
Further, the company explained that it could not serve load points at Karahnjukavirkjun, Iceland’s largest power station, due to Iceland’s distribution system limitations. The plant is in the country’s eastern region, while the island is predominantly the one with deficits.
News of Iceland’s electricity problems comes after Norway and Sweden, two Nordic countries, expressed concern about rising energy costs and the growing environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining. In November, Swedish regulators demanded an EU-wide ban of crypto mining. A few weeks later, the Norwegian government stated that it might support Sweden’s proposal.