Several different agencies have expressed their support for geothermal energy.
Geothermal energy is a critical component to the future of an integrated Canadian energy system that can provide zero-emission, renewable baseload power and thermal energy which can decarbonize oil and gas production and be sold to industries, municipalities and power utilities. In addition to power generation, high volume industrial heat users can use geothermal heating and take advantage of a low-cost, high-capacity heat. Based on availability, geothermal power generation and direct heating opportunities will provide significant opportunity for new industries and new long-term job creation, while helping Canada reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.
The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), Clean Energy Canada (CEC), the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN), the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), the Canadian Society for Petroleum Geologists (CSPG) and Canadian geothermal developers have joined together to create a geothermal alliance to promote Canadian geothermal development and to create jobs for displaced oil and gas drilling contractors and oilfield service workers.
Drilling for deep geothermal resources requires advanced drilling technology and expertise and can put drilling rigs and associated services to work in this current economic slowdown. Each active drilling rig can create 175 direct and indirect jobs, putting hard working Canadians back to work on renewable energy. A significant public investment in this geothermal alliance designed to partner and super-charge private investment back into the Canadian energy sector would create thousands of jobs and establish a brand new Canadian clean energy sector.
There are thousands of cutting-edge service companies that have been focused on advancing the oil and gas energy sector that can now be deployed to a new business line. From decades of successful technology innovation and expertise, these companies arethe foundation on which the Canadian geothermal industry can be advanced. Oil and gas technology overlaps with geothermal energy technology in many ways – vertical, directional and horizontal drilling, well completions, piping, fluid chemistry management and subsurface thermodynamic modeling, to list a few. It’s this incredible talent that has created a virtual Silicon Valley of drilling technology and knowhow in Western Canada. The oil and gas industry has been a significant part of Canada’s economic success over the past decades. The geothermal alliance is positioned to repurpose these skillsfor the first time in a new renewable energy industry.
The Geothermal Collaboration Network is energized to find new opportunities for its members as our industry sees prosperity threatened like never before. They recognize that the twin calamity of a politically driven price war and global health pandemic means that the government needs to take extraordinary measures to ensure major Canadian industries like the oil and gas sector don’t completely collapse. They also recognize that they can look beyond the oil and gas industry for new opportunities.
Geothermal energy development could easily attract major foreign investment capital to Western Canada to create several hundred megawatts of clean dispatchable power, that can complement variable sources like wind and solar, as well as direct heating opportunities. Such a plan would create a new clean energy industry for Canada while employing oil and gas employees and contractors.
With geothermal energy developments, the same investmentdollar can protect oil service jobs, improve the environment and provide a prosperous future for Canadians. To achieve this vision, Canadian geothermal developers require a long-term energy price that properly reflects the true value of reliable renewable power.
Support for the vision comes fromleading geothermal energy developers such as Deep Earth Energy Production Corp, which has started work on a geothermal project near Torquay, Terrapin Geothermics and Eavor Technologies, as well as the national organization, Geothermal Canada. The group also includes advanced research supporting these developments with various academic institutions.