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Hopes for significant role of geothermal energy in Saskatchewan’s power future

Potash mine in Cory, Saskatchewan, Canada (source: flickr/ Bruce Guenter, creative commons)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 11 Dec 2017

With plans to double renewable energy output in the province of Saskatchewan by SaskPower, geothermal energy is hoped to play a significant role going forward. The first geothermal project in the province could start operation within the next 2 years.

Earlier this year in May, it was announced that a power purchase agreement with a small geothermal power development in the Province of Saskatchewan in Canada was signed. Now, there is hope that geothermal could play a significant role in the future of the province.

The province’s main utility, SaskPower has big plans on doubling its renewable energy electricity generation by 2030. To reach this, geothermal could play an elementary part.

“If projections hold true, we’re going to need to find over 2,000 megawatts of renewable power,” Kirsten Marcia, president and CEO of Deep Earth Energy Production (DEEP), said in a statement to Global News.  “Geothermal is not the only solution here, but we hope to have a very significant place at the table.”

The province of Saskatchewan in the Prairies of Canada, has large potash, oil and gas resources, but also a 150 meter deep aquifer, according to Marcia. While too shallow and therefore not hot enough, the aquifer deepens towards the U.S. border. There temperatures are believed to be sufficient enough to generate electricity.

The aquifer is at a depth of about 3,400 meters. With the baseload electricity generation offered by geothermal energy, this option is attractive despite the risk of development and the long lead time.

DEEP expects to build its first geothermal power plant in the next 2 years and estimates that the aquifer will be able to support a capacity of up to 200 MW in generation capacity.

Source: GlobalNews Canada