Expanding geothermal space means more employment opportunities for geologists and other talented people in Canada’s oil and gas industry
The long history of oil and gas in western Canada has set the region for success with renewable energies, especially geothermal energies. Home to the sedimentary basin of West Canada and a long list of existing assets and skilled workers, the region is well-positioned to become a future leader in geothermal space.
Dr. Nicholas Harris is a geologist and professor at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Science, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. “Most of the large-scale geothermal developments to produce electricity have focused on areas with active volcanoes, such as Iceland and the Philippines,” he says. “In the United States, the Geysers oil field in California is the largest geothermal power source.
“In the last four or five years, geothermal space has really evolved in Canada. Falling oil and gas prices have led geothermal scientists to look more closely at geothermal as an additional source of income. “
Fut Era Power, northwest of Edmonton, is building a geothermal and natural gas co-production power plant in South Swan Hills. The facility aims to produce up to 21 MW of electricity online on the local grid by the end of the third quarter of 2022. FutEraPower is a wholly owned subsidiary of Razor Energy, a publicly traded junior oil and gas development and production company. Based in Calgary.
Lisa Mueller is President, CEO and Mechanical Engineer of FutEra Power. She describes the South Swan Hills hybrid power project as “the first in Canada” and “a technology born of an existing industry.” Mueller believes that space “can’t stay stagnant,” and developments like South Swan Hills will help promote Canada’s energy security.
Benefits of geothermal and natural gas co-produced power generation include reusing existing assets such as wells, pipelines and infrastructure while limiting the overall footprint. For comparison, Muller states that geothermal has a smaller footprint than other green energy sources such as solar and wind energy.
FutEra Power takes a pragmatic approach to become a leader in Canada’s transitional energy space, aiming to meet the growing demand for carbon-free energy solutions from low-carbon energy solutions. Similarly, the expansion of geothermal space means more employment opportunities for geologists and other talented people in Canada’s oil and gas industry.
“I think the development of small projects in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia could provide a roadmap for future geothermal innovation,” Harris concludes. “There is also the potential for a geothermal power network in a more isolated northern Canadian community that could replace the expensive diesel fuel currently used for power generation.”
This story was created by ContentWorks, Postmedia’s commercial content division.
Breakthrough innovation in geothermal energy
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