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Conventional geothermal heat & power project in Alberta, Canada secures government funding

Terrapin Geothermics event at Greenview, Alberta, Canada (source: Terrapin Geo)
Alexander Richter 26 Aug 2019

The Canadian government has announced funding of USD 18.4 million for the first conventional geothermal project in Alberta, Canada. The planned 5 MW plant is to provide heat and power to the community of Greenview in the province of Alberta.

Before the weekend, the Government of Canada announced C$25.45 million (around USD 18.4m) in funding for a groundbreaking renewable energy development in Alberta. The project, led by Terrapin Geothermics in partnership with the Municipal District of Greenview and PCL Construction, will use geothermal energy to generate 5 MW of clean, reliable electricity, as well as heat. It will be Alberta’s first large-scale geothermal power facility.

“Up to this point, this project has been an idea,” says Sean Collins, president of Terrapin Geothermics. “This funding makes it a reality. We applaud the federal government for their partnership in moving Alberta’s renewable energy sector forward.”

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, joined Terrapin Geothermics and PCL Construction to announce the funding commitments.

“The Greenview Geothermal Power Project will provide Alberta’s power grid with clean, renewable energy. Canada is committed to meeting its commitments to reduce emissions from the electricity sector, and projects like this build a foundation for the next generation of innovative technologies and systems,” said Minister Sohi.

Harnessing geothermal energy is a method of creating electricity without coal, natural gas, wind or sunlight. It powers generators using brine from natural reservoirs more than 2000 metres below ground, which are heated by thermal energy from deep inside the Earth. Once the thermal energy has been extracted from the brine and converted to electricity or used for heating, the brine is cycled back underground, where it will heat up again. Terrapin’s geothermal energy facility will produce renewable power that runs 24/7 with zero carbon emissions and minimal ongoing fuel costs.

“Canada’s western provinces, in addition to huge reserves of hydrocarbons, have vast resources of hot water below the surface,” says Dr. Catherine Hickson, Chief Geologist of Terrapin Geothermics. “Utilizing this hot water for heating and powering homes and industry saves valuable hydrocarbons for other uses.”

The project has been named “Alberta No. 1,” a tribute to the discovery of oil at the Leduc No. 1 oil drilling site in 1947. The name also hints at another connection to Alberta’s status as a leader in oil and gas – generating geothermal power draws on one of Alberta’s signature skill sets.

“The Alberta No.1 Geothermal project is a great opportunity for our country and province to showcase our skills and expertise in large-scale energy development. Terrapin is thrilled to be partnering with our construction and drilling sectors to pioneer the conventional geothermal industry in Alberta and deliver a different kind of energy. The geothermal heat beneath our feet is a unique, valuable and challenging resource that, if unlocked economically, presents a brand-new growth industry in Canada. Projects like this demonstrate our ability to diversify and Canada’s competence in our energy sector.” – Sean Collins, President of Terrapin Geothermics

“We are proud to partner with Terrapin on a made-in-Alberta renewable-power solution – one that sets our long-established skills in pipe fabrication and industrial construction to work building sustainable infrastructure in our own backyard,” says Roger Keglowitsch, COO, Heavy Industrial at PCL Construction.

The Alberta No. 1 project will provide geothermal heat and power to the Tri-Municipal Industrial Partnership, a planned industrial park in the Municipal District of Greenview. Terrapin hopes this will be the first of many geothermal facilities that will help meet the energy needs of Alberta’s industrial heartland and Alberta overall.

“We know how to drill in this province, and we know how to build effective, large-scale power facilities. We have world-leading expertise in those areas, because oil has played such a huge part in our economy for so long, and we need that same expertise to create geothermal wells. This is unique within the renewable energy sector because it draws on Alberta’s existing strengths, without a lot of people having to retrain,” Collins observes. “The Alberta No.1 Geothermal project is a great opportunity for our country and province to showcase our skills and expertise in large scale energy development. The geothermal heat beneath our feet is a unique, valuable and challenging resource, that if unlocked economically, presents a brand new growth industry in Canada. Projects like this are diversifying from our strengths, and Canada’s strength lies in our energy sector.”

Source: Terrapin Geothermal, Natural Resources Canada