Monday, July 22, 2019

Canada: Mount Meager Geothermal Resource - "a map-able, permeable zone, that looks like it's interconnected."

This research project is exploring geothermal potential near Mount Meager (The Squamish Chief)

As Canada looks towards renewable energy, the Garibaldi Geothermal Volcanic Belt might hold a key

(Courtesy Geological Survey of Canada)
The overall goal of the Garibaldi Geothermal Volcanic Belt Assessment Project, a combined effort between Geoscience BC and the Geological Survey of Canada, is to reduce the exploration risk into this renewable energy source by increasing knowledge of what's happening beneath the surface, said Dr. Stephen Grasby, a senior research scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada during an open house held at the Pemberton & District Community Centre on Thursday, July 11.

Beginning in the mid-1970s, the Canadian government began investigating alternative forms of energy, including through an active federal geothermal research program. One of the areas that program focused on was Mount Meager, where Natural Resources Canada joined forces with BC Hydro to drill a series of research wells, Grasby said.

While researchers discovered steam and were able to produce power, permeability was an issue. "They found hot water, up to 240 degrees Celsius—this is a world-class thermal resource that was discovered—but the problem was that the flow rate to the surface wasn't high enough to justify the cost" of installing full geothermal power facilities, said Grasby.

But when researchers decided to revisit the West Coast's geothermal potential by amalgamating prior data from a variety of sources, they found signs pointing towards "a map-able, permeable zone, that looks like it's interconnected," said Carlos Salas, executive vice president and chief scientific officer at Geoscience BC. "This myth [about a lack of water flow] that's been perpetrated through history might not be true."
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