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Pathfinder Energy Ltd. Rocky 5 Bitcoin Mining Power Plant, AUC Decision 27673-D01-2023

Link to Decision Summarized

Electricity – Facilities

Application

Pathfinder Energy Ltd. (“Pathfinder”), previously named Nexus Energy Associates Ltd., applied to the AUC for permission to construct and operate the 60-megawatt (“MW”) natural gas-fired Rocky 5 Bitcoin Mining Power Plant (the “Power Plant”). The Power Plant will be constructed on 10 acres of Crown land 30 kilometres northwest of Rocky Mountain House and consists of forty 1.5-MW generators, forty 1.5-megavolt ampere transformers, and ten 6-MW cooling pods.

Decision

The AUC approved the application from Pathfinder and approved the requested in-service date of June 2023. The Power Plant will be owned and operated by Pathfinder and produce power exclusively for use by an on-site bitcoin mining operation.

Applicable Legislation

Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives and Guidelines.

Alberta Utilities Commission Act, SA 2007, c A-37.2 – s 17.

Electric Utilities Act, SA 2003, c E-5.1 – s 2(1).

Hydro and Electric Energy Act, RSA 2000, c H-16 – ss 11 and 19.

AUC Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, Hydro Developments and Gas Utility Pipelines.

AUC Rule 012: Noise Control.

Public Lands Act, RSA 2000, c P-40.

Pertinent Issues

Pathfinder submitted that the Power Plant would not be connected to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System. As Pathfinder will consume the energy produced on the property of Pathfinder, the AUC determined that the Electric Utilities Act (“EUA”) does not apply and that Pathfinder qualified for the exemption from the permit requirement under s 2(1) of the EUA.

The AUC found that approval of the Power Plant would be in the public interest and approved the application.

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