Ground Water Canada

Features Geothermal
Geoscience BC to explore geothermal energy opportunities for B.C. communities


September 21, 2015
By Ground Water Canada

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Vancouver – Geoscience BC is launching a project to identify and evaluate direct-use geothermal energy opportunities for B.C. communities and provide them with data to potentially lower greenhouse gas emissions and further economic development.

Direct-use geothermal energy is a clean and renewable source of power, particularly for remote communities, but its potential applications in Canada are still poorly understood by scientists and the communities who stand to benefit most, the company said in a news release.

“This project is the first step toward giving BC communities and businesses an understanding of what geothermal resources are available and how they may use them,” said Catherine Hickson, principal of Tuya Terra Geo Corp. and leader of the six-month project.

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Geothermal energy uses heat produced in the earth’s crust to generate electricity (indirect-use) or to heat commercial or residential spaces (direct-use). Although B.C. has significant potential for geothermal resources, direct-use geothermal energy is currently only used for therapeutic purposes at hot springs.

“Direct-use geothermal energy is used in other parts of the world for space heating, agricultural, industrial, commercial, snow clearing and recreational purposes,” explains geothermal geologist and direct-use expert, Gerald W. Huttrer, president of Geothermal Management Company and science co-leader for the project.

Previous studies of direct-use geothermal energy in B.C. have focused on the end use application or have been specific to locations or projects. Communities and local governments may not have access to the expert knowledge required to oversee a geothermal exploration program, or the cost of exploration may be a major barrier to wider adoption of direct-use geothermal energy.

The project will compile existing, publicly available geoscience data and survey communities to identify their needs, development choices and economic development goals.

The company says it hopes result will be a Geothermal Direct-Use Road Map designed for communities, containing guidelines for surface exploration, land acquisition and permitting, drilling and testing wells, leading to design and construction of facilities.