Kosovo’s government on Tuesday introduced a ban on cryptocurrency mining in an attempt to curb electricity consumption as the country faces the worst energy crisis in a decade due to production outages. Reuters reports: “All law enforcement agencies will stop the production of this activity in cooperation with other relevant institutions that will identify the locations where there is cryptocurrency production,” Economy and Energy Minister Artane Rizvanolli said in a statement. Faced with coal-fired power plant outages and high import prices authorities were forced last month to introduce power cuts.
European gas prices soared more than 30% on Tuesday after low supplies from Russia reignited concerns about an energy crunch as colder weather approaches. In December, Kosovo declared a state of emergency for 60 days which will allow the government to allocate more money to energy imports, introduce more power cuts and harsher measures. The country of 1.8 million people is now importing more than 40% of its consumed energy with high demand during the winter when people use electricity mainly for heating. Around 90% percent of energy production in Kosovo is from lignite, a soft coal that produces toxic pollution when burnt.