Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Canada: Alberta Takes Notice of Geothermal Energy

Hot Treasure - Alberta's unique geothermal potential (Alberta Views)

Our province has a new government and a new climate plan that proposes to change everything, especially for the energy sector. We’re phasing out coal and putting a higher price on carbon. New environmental regulations loom for the energy industry. Oil prices are down sharply as global competitors flood the market. Unemployment is up and corporate revenues are down. Everyone says we must diversify, but no one knows how. A lot of capital is tied up in idle rigs and abandoned wells.

Alberta, however, has the resources, the know-how and the interested parties to create a new energy specialty: geothermal. “To me, this is an exciting opportunity,” says Craig Dunn, the president of Calgary-based Borealis GeoPower. As a geologist, he knows that oilfield wellheads often erupt with brine, oil, gas—and steam. To him that means “Albertans have direct access to the earth’s heat.” What oil companies have long seen as a hazardous nuisance, Dunn’s company sees as a renewable resource that can be turned into a commodity. Already, engineers are retooling oilfield equipment to drill for heat. Even abandoned oil wells can be repurposed for geothermal energy.