Researchers urge more support for geothermal in BC, Canada
Researchers of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC are urging more support for developing the much untapped geothermal potential of British Columbia, Canada.
Researchers of the Clean Energy Research Group (CERG) of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada say more can be done to support the development geothermal resources as a source of renewable energy.
CERG researchers calculated the estimated future energy demand for a controversial large-scale hyderopower project would not be adequate. In a new working paper, “Geothermal Power in British Columbia” published on March 16, 2021, the group notes that B.C. sits on the Pacific Rim Ring of Fire, which means that BC and Alberta have abundant geothermal resources that could fulfill future energy demand.
SFU political science professor and CERG lead Andy Hira says the federal and provincial governments have yet to seriously invest in exploring and mapping out geothermal, compared to more advanced jurisdictions like California.
Hira, who co-authored the paper with SFU research associate Nastaran Arianpoo, a mining engineer and geothermal specialist, also notes that there is a lack of regulatory frameworks for geothermal energy development in several provincial and territorial jurisdictions. This creates an uncertain environment for investors and developers to advance projects beyond the exploration phase.
“Without that investment and a more supportive regulatory environment, the private sector won’t take the risks to develop geothermal,” says Hira. “The government could incentivize geothermal resource exploration in B.C. and Canada through additional grants and loans for research and development, training, surveying, mapping and drilling.”
They also suggest lifting B.C. Hydro’s moratorium on new power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable geothermal projects.
There are though positive steps for geothermal development in the Province of British Columbia with the Indigenous-led Clarke Lake Geothermal Development Project in northeastern B.C.
Source: Simon Fraser University