Map shows areas of geothermal potential

Geothermal pitched as alternative to Site C dam

Energy Minister Bill Bennett says it has promise, but isn't developed enough to replace Peace River dam

Geothermal energy can help power the B.C. electrical grid around the province, and B.C. should assess that option before deciding to proceed with a third dam on the Peace River, an industry association says.

The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) issued a report Tuesday detailing its latest work on geothermal sites. In addition to hot springs and volcanic sites that could be tapped to provide power, the study examines “hot sedimentary aquifers” that have been stumbled upon by oil and gas drilling.

“At the risk of offending my own mother, this ain’t your grandma’s geothermal,” said CanGEA chair Alison Thompson at a Victoria news conference.

Thompson pointed to the recent joint federal-provincial review of BC Hydro’s Site C dam project, which noted that little research into geothermal energy has been conducted in B.C.

The CanGEA report estimates that deep hot water aquifers and other geothermal sources are capable of producing enough electricity to meet BC Hydro’s projected needs, including the 1,100 megawatt capacity offered by Site C. The report calls for a one-year delay on Site C, which has passed federal and provincial environmental reviews and is being considered by the B.C. cabinet.

Energy Minister Bill Bennett said Tuesday he expects cabinet to make a final investment decision on BC Hydro’s $8 billion dam proposal by the end of December. He said geothermal energy has potential in B.C. because unlike wind or solar power it provides a steady source of power, but he doesn’t see it as an alternative to the dam.

“It is a good resource,” Bennett said. “We do want to use it. It will be important to B.C. in the future. It’s not a way to get the 1,100 megawatts of electricity that we need now.”

Bennett noted that the provincially-funded research agency GeoScienceBC issued a request for proposals Tuesday for a study on the economic viability of geothermal resources.

CanGEA is doing its own mapping, not just of promising sources but their proximity to roads, power lines and consumers. Thompson said the industry is also looking at combining solar and biomass with geothermally heated water to produce enough heat to fire boilers for electricity.

Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver said the report shows Site C should not go ahead next year, because CanGEA projects lower cost, with power sources and jobs distributed across the province.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Traffic redirected after crash on McKenzie Avenue

Saanich Police responded to Thursday evening collision

North Saanich artist brightens pandemic with whimsical signs

Artist Anna Trelford decorates her fence with signs that riff on COVID-19 pandemic

Man who bound, murdered Langford teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Tour de Victoria postpones 10th annual ride to 2021

Ride that draws more than 3,000 cyclists to Greater Victoria was set for August

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read