The Quiet Geyser

Geothermal geyser. Photo courtesy of Trey Ratcliff

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial geothermal power plant in Italy in 1905. Since then, dozens of countries around the world have adopted this highly sustainable heating and cooling system. Iceland for example, is considered the geothermal energy champion and New Zealand is recognized globally for its efforts in helping other countries harness their geothermal potential. But where is Canada on the geothermal map?

Although Canada has vast geothermal energy reserves, most of our geothermal efforts are done abroad and we have yet to open a commercial plant in our own country. According to the Globe and Mail, there are two main reasons for this: most provinces and territories don’t allow geothermal projects, and geothermal is expensive to develop and since there’s no domestic interest, investors are hesitant. But this might soon change.

Geothermal factory, Reykjanes, Iceland. Photo courtesy of Chris Zielecki

More organizations across the country are pushing for initiatives to help Canada meet its geothermal potential. Calgary-based industry group the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) wants the government to step in and take more action because their policies are hindering progress.

In order to influence governments, CanGEA started an indiegogo campaign to raise awareness and funds for their Industry Roadmap and to help hire a policy team. The Industry Roadmap is a series of market reports, resource favourability maps, workshops and databases. CanGEA argues that Canada already has what it takes to produce geothermal energy and all we need now is government support.

DEEP, a member of CanGEA in Saskatchewan, has made it their mission to develop geothermal resources to meet energy needs in their province. They recently received a $2-million commitment from SaskPower and Natural Resources Canada and are now preparing to drill its first well.

The Milky White Geothermal Occurrence

Geothermal factory, Reykjanes, Iceland. Photo courtesy of Trey Ratcliff

Vancouver-based Alterra Power Corp. is a big player in the international geothermal field and has seven plants across the world, including in Iceland, Chile, the US, and a solar facility in Ontario.

And of course, Davies-Smith is a big supporter of geothermal energy and we’re using the sustainable and eco-friendly energy source at our Ironstone condominiums.

We’re eager to see the aftermath of CanGEA’s indiegogo campaign – will governments get behind this source of renewable energy? Canada has potential to have 5,000 megawatts of installed geothermal power by 2025, let’s see if we can achieve that number.