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Capturing geothermal heat from re-purposed oil and gas wells – new initiative in Alberta, Canada

City of Hinton, Alberta, Canada (source: flickr/ Dean Lack, RPAP, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 6 Feb 2018

Western Economic Diversification Canada has announced funding to support efforts for an engineering and design initiative to determine the viability of a Geothermal District Energy System in the Town of Hinton that would use geothermal heat from marginally producing oil and gas wells to heat the town’s public buildings.

Western Economic Diversification Canada, a federal program to enhance and strengthen the economy of Western Canada, has announced funding being made available for a geothermal project the province of Alberta.  The efforts are part of the Federal Government of the country to support technologies that advance environmental objectives, create jobs and stimulate growth in the clean technology sector is a priority for the Government of Canada.

With the project, the viability of capturing geothermal heat from re-purposed oil and gas wells will be explored in the city of Hinton.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced C$400,000 (around USD320,000)  for an engineering and design initiative to determine the viability of a Geothermal District Energy System in the Town of Hinton. The Government of Alberta and Alberta Innovates will provide a total of C$800,000 (USD 640,000), bringing the investment amount for the Town of Hinton’s project to C$1.2 million (USD 970,000). The proposed system would produce renewable geothermal heat from marginally producing oil and gas wells to heat the town’s public buildings.

Canada’s Innovation Agenda promotes clean growth, good jobs and higher living standards for the middle class. The investment announced today is an example of this vision in action.

When it comes to clean technology, Canada has the opportunity to be a true global leader – creating good jobs for Canadians while helping to meet our climate change goals. I applaud the Town of Hinton for exploring the use of ground-breaking clean technologies to capture and re-purpose geothermal energy for heating.”, so The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

Through the Climate Leadership Plan, we are helping the Town of Hinton explore what could be the most transformative geothermal energy project in Canadian history. This technology, which leverages renewable heat produced from existing oil and gas wells, has enormous potential to pave the way for other geothermal projects in Alberta, creating future opportunities to diversify our economy and make life better for all Albertans.”, so Shannon Phillips, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office

Alberta Innovates develops and invests in strategic programs to achieve Alberta’s goals for energy, the environment and economic prosperity. This project accelerates geothermal development in the province and our interests in developing and adapting innovative clean energy technologies that maximize the value of the province’s natural and renewable resources.”, Dr. John Zhou, Vice President Clean Energy, Alberta Innovates

Hinton has a long history of oil and gas exploration, with a determination in finding hidden potential. This cross-governmental partnership represents an opportunity to explore the future, together, for not just our community, but Alberta and perhaps our nation. Hintonites want to build their future, not wait for it.”, Mayor Marcel Michaels, Town of Hinton, Alberta

Quick Facts

  • This initiative could be the first project in Alberta and Canada that uses one or more oil and gas wells to heat buildings.
  • Engagement of six firms and the creation of 21 jobs will help to test prospective oil and gas wells.
  • Geothermal heat produced through this project could replace approximately 60,000 to 150,000 gigajoules per year of natural gas usage.

Associated Links

Source: Western Economic Diversification Canada