Geothermal power plants turn hot water into electricity. Companies drill underground for water or steam similar to the process of drilling for oil. The heat is brought to the surface and used to spin turbines. The water is then returned underground.
ATF Financial Chief economist, Todd Hirsch describes geothermal as “a perfectly green, perfectly renewable source of electricity. He also suggests geothermal could be a boon for the province, where companies have had a knack for developing “marginal resources” such as the oilsands.
Alberta lacking program
While no geothermal electricity is currently produced in Canada, companies are trying to build facilities. Some are proposed in B.C. and Saskatchewan.
Calgary-based Borealis GeoPower would like to have a project in its home province, but instead is pursuing opportunities in neighbouring B.C. The main reason is because B.C. has a geothermal program in place for companies to develop electricity, while Alberta does not.
“That’s a massive hurdle,” said Craig Dunn, head geologist with Borealis GeoPower. “With a lack of a geothermal policy for development in Alberta, it makes a number of developers, including ourselves, apprehensive about approaching that market.”
A geothermal company wanting to secure the rights to a thermal deposit would have to compete with oil and gas companies for the subsurface permit, since there is no separate program for geothermal, says Dunn.
The Alberta government’s Energy Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Borealis GeoPower has geothermal projects under development in Terrace and Kinbasket Lake, B.C.
“I joke it’s a great way to make your kids rich. You are creating the infrastructure for a resource that has no fuel costs,” said Dunn. “I’m developing something that could be around for generations.”
To read the whole article, click here: “Geothermal pitched as Alberta’s next big energy source“.