Canadian geothermal potential discussed in several articles

Well MC6 being flowtested at Meager Creek, BC/ Canada (source: Western GeoPower)
Alexander Richter 21 Sep 2011

A series of articles in Canadian media is finally discussing the potential of geothermal energy in Canada, following a "quietly released" report by the Geological Survey of Canada earlier this year, but also stating the challenges of lack of public interest, no political support or incentives and no pilot project online yet.

In several articles in the last two weeks, geothermal energy and its potential have been discussed in Canadian papers and online media.

Some of the titles are “Canada sitting on massive store of geothermal energy” (Margret Munro), “Geothermal remains the forgotten child of renewables” (Tyler Hamilton). Both articles refer to the recently published Geological Survey of Canada’s report on the country’s geothermal resource potential.

This and more was the discussion of the recent Annual Conference by the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA). While as “As few as 100 projects could meet Canada’s energy needs,”so the GSC report, it also suggests that geothermal energy could be a game-changer.

“Canada’s in-place geothermal power exceeds one million times Canada’s current electrical consumption,” the report says.

The heat is closest to the surface in large swaths of British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, but the report says geothermal energy opportunities exist across Canada.

It notes that geothermal has distinct advantages over not only fossil fuels and nuclear energy but also wind, solar and biofuels, as the Earth’s heat is available 24 hours a day, year-round.

The main author of the report Steve Grasby said that geothermal is not without technological and environmental risks. But there is no question there is a vast amount of clean energy underfoot, he said, and the country is well placed to start drilling for it.

“Of anywhere in the world, Canada has the technology and knowledge to move this forward,” Grasby said, pointing to expertise devised for energy exploration and mining.

Tyler Hamilton of the Toronto Star was a panel speaker at the conference last week and shared his views on why geothermal doesn´t get the attention. He referred to both the fact that media would need something to report on and among others the fact that the general public puts heat-pumps and the power segment of the industry doesn´t help.

The industry in Canada needs one or two pilote projects that show that the technology works in Canada and maybe then also politicians will wake up.