Geothermal energy – utilising its untapped potential in British Columbia, Canada

Museum of Anthropology at the UBC, Vancouver, Canada (source: flickr/ Michael Rawle, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 28 Aug 2017

In recent opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun, the acting CEO of Gesocience B.C. makes a passionate plea for the development and utilisation of the geothermal resources in the province of British Columbia, Canada.

In an opinion piece in one of the largest newspapers in the province of British Columbia, Carlos Salas is vice-president and acting CEO of Geoscience B.C. provides his take on why the province should “not let the geothermal energy opportunity go cold.”

Describing the high potential for geothermal energy utilisation in the province, he refers to a a technical and economic assessment using publicly available information for 18 geothermal “hotspots” around the province, that was funded by GeoScience B.C..

This work used a comprehensive model to determine viability and takes into account resource exploration, confirmation, and development costs for using geothermal to generate electricity. It also considers the required investment in a power plant — field and power plant operational and maintenance costs as well as other economic inputs such as costs for power lines, roads, permitting and leasing.

The study found a lot of sites that could alone cover about 8% of the provinces annual electricity demand or about 5,000 GWh per year. This estimate is described as conservative with a 50% chance of success on each site based on current reserves and existing technology. Further research looked into direct use opportunities.

Describing the challenges of development, such as high-up front risk and capital and a certain nervousness, Geoscience B.C. still sees clear benefits for the province.

With abundant natural resources and unique geology, geothermal provides for a clean and sustainable energy source for the province. Furthermore its baseload capacity provides a great benefit paired with unparalleled opportunities in direct use of the heat for greenhouse operations and other industrial applications. ”

“It’s time to turn up the heat on geothermal in B.C. A little further research and exploration would go a long way to adding this powerful technology to B.C.’s energy mix.”

Source: Vancouver Sun