Geothermal Electricity For BC?

Geothermal Electricity for BC- a multifaceted energy source waiting in the wings?

Presenter: Barrie Webster

January, 2021

BC has extensive geothermal energy resources beneath its surface. The general location of developable geothermal energy in BC was described more than 10 years ago (Sarah Kimball, MASc thesis, UBC 2010) in general with specific depths and temperatures generally described. The feasibility of potential access through the many abandoned but well-documented natural gas wells across western Canada has been reported (Aletta Leitch et al., Heat Seeking 2017, Pembina Institute) and shown to be feasible in BC in the Clarke Lake Formation near Fort Nelson (Ainslie Cruickshank, The Narwhal, 2020), development that features First Nations participation.

What could arise other than electricity itself? One byproduct is (limited) seismic activity through the use of hydraulic fracturing (Charlotte Helston, Energy BC). Another is waste heat, in itself a valuable resource.

Iceland has developed its abundant geothermal energy. It sits on top of the mid-Atlantic Ridge and is world-renowned for deriving benefits from creative use of that energy (photos by Simone Tramonte):

1. Which of these ancillary products might we anticipate developing in BC?

2. What environmental problems might we anticipate? Could they be mitigated or prevented?

3. How do these potential problems compare with the environmental damage we have come to be complacent about with LNG, hydro, and oil sands development?

4. What are we waiting for? Or is this another resource development boondoggle waiting for the unwary?

Note the prevalence of young women is making the information on geothermal energy known!