"Norway Needs a National Ban on Crypto Centers"

Hydrokraft AS i Glomfjord

Hydrokraft AS is established in Meløy municipality in Northern Norway and started its operations in 2021. The company and its assicuared subsidiaries have been acquired by Australian Arkon Energy. 

Data centers mining cryptocurrencies must be banned through national legislation, believes Arne Ivar Mikalsen (Left) on behalf of the Nordland County Council in Northern Norway.

At the end of September, the Norwegian government reported that it would revise its computer center strategy in order to meet future challenges. A lot has changed since the previous government put forth the preceding computer center strategy, such as the security policy situation in Europe, while the world is simultaneously facing an energy crisis with an increasing need for computer power and digitization. 

The previous government (the Solberg government) wanted, among other things, to facilitate Norway to become an attractive country for the establishment of computer centers and worked for growth in the computer center industry. They also launched a guide for the establishment of computer centers in Norway.

"The world has radically changed since the last computer center strategy was presented. The security policy situation in Europe has changed, the energy situation is very demanding, and there is an increasing need for data power as digitization increases. At the same time, cryptocurrency mining is taking up important energy resources," said the Norwegian Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Sigbjørn Gjelsvik (Center) about the revision.

The deadline to submit was set for the 15th of January 2023.

Too many already

The Nordland County Council is now submitting its input to the strategy - they simply want a ban on crypto centers.

Arne Ivar Mikalsen

Gruppeleder for Venstre i Nordland fylkesting, Arne Ivar Mikalsen. (Foto: NFK)

Group Leader for the Left Party of the Nordland County Council, Arne Ivar Mikalsen. (Photo: Nordland County Council)

"Computer centres mining for cryptocurrencies provide too few jobs and use up the power capacity that could have gone to industries that create far more jobs," says Group Leader for the Left Party of the Nordland County Council, Arne Ivar Mikalsen.

He believes that too many have already been allowed to establish themselves and that they should no longer be given the opportunity to do so.

Recently, High North News covered the acquisition of the crypto factory Hydrokraft in Glomfjord by Australian Arkon Energy. The facility will use large amounts of power to produce bitcoin and the mayor of Meløy municipality Sigurd Stormo (Labor) is worried that the company will not leaving enough value locally.

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In a relatively short time, similar factories have been established in the municipalities of Rana, Fauske, and Hadsel in Nordland, Northern Norway, as well as Alta in Finnmark. 

"Due to low electricity prices and power surpluses, there is a relatively great interest from actors who mine cryptocurrency. These are actors who have capital and are ready to establish themselves and meet the requirements to be able to establish themselves quickly," says Arne Ivar Mikalsen, who is now concerned that these actors are establishing themselves at the expense of industries that have more value for the local community.

"The connection obligation and the grid company's neutrality obligation give these actors the same right as everyone else to collect power from the electrical grid. That must change," he states.

A changing world

"In Nordland county, the capacity is limited. We risk that crypto centers essentially slow down or block new industries and the green shift in Nordland. Therefore, we must have a national ban on such centers," Mikalsen demands.


That way, the municipalities can ban or regulate data centers that mine cryptocurrency themselves.

Group Leader for the Left Party of the Councy Council in Nordland, Arne Ivar Mikalsen.

The Left Party politician also believes that the municipalities themselves should be able to prioritize which actors are allocated capacity in the power grid, based on societal criteria. There are also other measures he would like to have in place as soon as possible.

"Demands can be made for the recovery of surplus heat, such data centers can have special noise regulations, and it would be sensible to make the necessary legislative changes to strengthen local self-government. That way, the municipalities can ban or regulate data centers that mine cryptocurrency themselves, says Mikalsen, who got the majority of the representatives in the Nordland County Council behind him on this issue.

Changing the law

In a statement sent to the government on behalf of the Nordland County Council, it reads that the county council fears that "actors can take hold over all the available capacity in the transmission network and thus slow down or block new industries and the green shift in Nordland. Nordland County Council believes that data centers that mine cryptocurrency have a very high power consumption and result in low employment."

In order of priority, Nordland County Council therefore asks the government to consider a national ban on data centers that mine cryptocurrency, as well as to change the Energy Act, so that the municipalities can prioritize the allocation of the power grid capacity based on societal criteria.

In anticipation of a national ban, the county council also asks the government to set requirements for the recovery of excess heat, introduce special noise regulations for data centers that mine cryptocurrency, and make necessary legislative changes that strengthen local self-government to be able to ban and regulate data centers that mine cryptocurrency.

Crypto factories in Northern Norway (established and planned)

  • Bodø: Bluebite
  • Sulitjelma: Bluebite
  • Glomfjord: Hydrokraft
  • Mo i Rana: Bitfury/Cowa/Lian Group
  • Alta: Sowrer/Cowa/Lian Group
  • Hadsel: Kryptovault

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This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.