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Canadian city of Yellowknife evaluating geothermal heating

City of Yellowknife, NWT/ Canada (source: flickr/ Hyougushi, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 24 Jul 2010

The city of Yellowknife in the Canadian Northwest Territories is exploring the option of utilizing geothermal heat in an old mine for heating in a district heating system.

In the Canadian North West Territories, “The City of Yellowknife continues its quest for greener energy and is weighing the pros and cons of drawing heat from the defunct Con Mine.

But turning the Con Mine tunnels into a source of heat for large buildings in the downtown core could come with a higher price tag than originally expected, according to new estimates on the renewable energy resource.

A representative of Compass Resource Management, Taylor Zeeg, said the project could cost the city up to C$61.2 million (US$56million)  rather than C$26.5 million (US$24million), but it would benefit the community.

“There’s an opportunity here for an alternative based energy system, (which would) dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “There is a high cost, but there’s potential to recover that high capital cost over customer rates over time.”

The company projects the mine’s tunnels could heat up to 39 buildings in the downtown core and provide some 52,000 megawatt hours of heat per year.

“Just to give you a sense of what 52,000 megawatt hours is, that’s approximately 7 million litres of diesel, of heating oil,” he said. “So it’s a fairly large customer base, and a lot of fuel.”

The federal government has already promised the city between 10 and 20 million to help turn the defunct mine into a geothermal plant.

The city plans to apply for more grants, and to conduct another economic feasibility study before moving ahead with the project.”

Source: HQYellowknife