Greenview, Alta. – A geothermal project in Alberta has received more than $25 million national funding for an innovative renewable energy development in Alberta. The project is being spearheaded by Terrapin Geothermics in partnership with the Municipal District of Greenview and PCL Construction. It aims to use geothermal energy to generate 5 megawatts of electricity as well as heat. It would be Alberta’s first large-scale geothermal power facility.
“Up to this point, this project has been an idea,” said Sean Collins, president of Terrapin Geothermics, in a press release. “This funding makes it a reality. We applaud the federal government for their partnership in moving Alberta’s renewable energy sector forward.”
Amarjeet Sohi, minister of natural resources noted that the project is aligned with the country’s energy goals.
“The Greenview Geothermal Power Project will provide Alberta’s power grid with clean, renewable energy,” said Sohi, in a release.
“Canada is committed to meeting its commitments to reduce emissions from the electricity sector, and projects like this build a foundation for the next generation of innovative technologies and systems.”
The project powers generators using brine from natural reservoirs more than 2000 metres in the ground, which are warmed by thermal energy originating deep inside the Earth. Once the thermal energy has been collected from the brine and transformed into electricity or used for heating, the brine is cycled back underground, where it heats up again. Terrapin’s geothermal energy facility will produce renewable power that runs 24/7 with zero carbon emissions and minimal ongoing fuel costs.
“Canada’s western provinces, in addition to huge reserves of hydrocarbons, have vast resources of hot water below the surface,” said Catherine Hickson, chief geologist for Terrapin Geothermics. “Utilizing this hot water for heating and powering homes and industry saves valuable hydrocarbons for other uses.”
The project has been named “Alberta No. 1,” as a nod to the discovery of oil at the Leduc No. 1 oil drilling site in 1947. The name also teases another connection to Alberta’s status as a leader in oil and gas – generating geothermal power draws on one of Alberta’s signature skill sets.
“We are proud to partner with Terrapin on a made-in-Alberta renewable-power solution – one that sets our long-established skills in pipe fabrication and industrial construction to work building sustainable infrastructure in our own backyard,” says Roger Keglowitsch, COO, heavy industrial at PCL Construction.
The heat and power will be directed to the Tri-Municipal Industrial Partnership, a planned industrial park in the Municipal District of Greenview. Terrapin intends for the project to be the first of many geothermal facilities for the province’s industrial heartland and Alberta overall.
“We know how to drill in this province, and we know how to build effective, large-scale power facilities. We have world-leading expertise in those areas, because oil has played such a huge part in our economy for so long, and we need that same expertise to create geothermal wells. This is unique within the renewable energy sector because it draws on Alberta’s existing strengths, without a lot of people having to retrain,” Collins said. “The Alberta No.1 Geothermal project is a great opportunity for our country and province to showcase our skills and expertise in large scale energy development.”