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Alberta takes initial steps to create drilling accelerator

Alberta takes initial steps to create drilling accelerator

EDMONTON – The Government of Alberta is taking the first steps in establishing a new Alberta Drilling Accelerator with the intent of making the province a global hub for geothermal technology.

Alberta will invest $750,000 to conduct a feasibility study led by Calgary-based Eavor Technologies and other stakeholders, a release said. The study will include identification of a site, business planning, research on the governance model, an economic impact analysis and stakeholder engagement that will lay the groundwork for the initial planning stages of the project.

“The proposed Alberta Drilling Accelerator presents enormous potential to help our province lead the next wave of energy projects here at home and around the world that reduce emissions, create jobs and enhance energy security,” Alberta Minister of Environment and Protected Areas Rebecca Schulz said in the release.

The accelerator would be an “open-access, technology-agnostic drilling test facility capable of drilling in challenging environments, including deep depths, high temperatures and different rock types,” the release said.

“With cumulative geothermal investment poised to reach $1 trillion by 2050, a geothermal arms race is very much underway to commercialize novel drilling techniques that accelerate geothermal development – exhibited by testing facilities in the United States, China and Iceland. As Canada’s first geothermal test bed, the Alberta Drilling Accelerator will help bring geothermal technologies to scale, supporting companies like Eavor. We commend the Government of Alberta for this bold initiative,” Eavor Technologies president and CEO John Redfern added.

If the feasibility study shows the facility is economically and environmentally viable, and the project is approved by the Alberta government, the facility will start taking shape at the selected site and drilling could start as early as 2025.

In 2019, Eavor received $2 million in provincial funding through Emissions Reduction Alberta and Alberta Innovates for the world’s first closed-loop geothermal system, the release said.

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