GEOTHERMAL: SK - first in Canada???!

GEOTHERMAL: SK - first in Canada???!

Postby Oscar » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:08 pm

Saskatchewan Did What?! Province OKs Canada's First Geothermal Power Plant

[ ... ower-plant ]

By James Wilt • Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 15:15

Saskatchewan has developed a bit of a negative reputation on the environmental front lately.

Guess that’s what happens when a premier threatens to sue the federal government over mandated carbon pricing and instead promotes the extremely expensive technology of carbon capture and storage.

That’s why it came as quite a surprise when provincial electricity utility SaskPower announced in mid-May that it had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) — a contract for guaranteed sales at a fixed price — with geothermal company Deep Earth Energy Production.

The project in Williston Basin is an extremely small one: at five megawatts (MW), it will represent only 0.1 per cent of the province’s current electricity capacity. But it will be the first geothermal power project in Canada and experts say that it’s a huge step forward for geothermal, not only for Saskatchewan but the entire country.

“Saskatchewan is very quiet and all of a sudden boom, they make an announcement,” says Alison Thompson, chair and co-founder of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA), in an interview with DeSmog Canada. “This is a little bit unexpected, but of course very, very positive. It has to start somewhere.”

“We don’t have any geothermal power generation in Canada yet,” adds Kirsten Marcia, president and CEO of Deep Earth Energy Production, also known as DEEP. “A successful project like DEEP will really help bolster other projects in other provinces to move ahead and get a little more traction.”

There’s also plenty of opportunity for retraining oil and gas workers for geothermal projects, including in manufacturing components, performing electrical work and operating rigs. In 2014, it was calculated by CanGEA that while the controversial Site C Dam in northeastern B.C. would only generate 150 permanent jobs, the same amount of power produced by geothermal would result in 2,000.

A downturn in oil and gas production in Alberta has also left a highly skilled drilling workforce without jobs. The geothermal industry has argued the province’s abandoned oil and gas wells present an opportunity to potentially put thousands of drillers back to work.

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