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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for April 20th, 2015

Time for BC Geothermal Energy?

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I got some content today from the US Geological Service. It is intended as a “feature” and covers all their services, with a bent towards the upcoming Earth Day. Of course, on this blog every day is earth day, and my content needs to be local. One of the things I have been banging on about is geothermal energy. We have all sorts of hot springs around BC, and I have even spent time around Harrison Hot Springs. It occurred to me then that there must be more that can be done with this resource than just providing hot tubs. So here is the USGS piece on geothermal energy.

USGS geothermal

Deep within the Earth’s crust lies an extremely important but underutilized renewable energy resource: geothermal energy. In 2008, the USGS released a national assessment of geothermal power resources, showing more than 550,000 Megawatts–electric power–generating potential. Since then, the USGS has continued to research and assess geothermal power potential all over the country.

“Interest in geothermal energy has rapidly grown. Recent permitting activity has seen dozens of applications for geothermal leases. All of this is based on the fundamental resource assessment efforts of the USGS – without that basic research, the benefits of this renewable energy resource would be achieved much more slowly and at much greater expense.” — William Glassley, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Davis

But of course what we need is information about BC – and that is provided by the BC Sustainable Energy Association though their page on the subject dates from 2005, which suggests to me that it probably needs updating. I did hear that there has been a great deal of drilling done in BC in recent years in pursuit of shale gas, and all that information was lodged with BC’s energy ministry. It contains, of course, lots of data about the availability of geothermal energy which was discovered when looking for something else.

This information is available as maps from the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association and also from the BC Government

The CGEA conclusions are

Key Findings Summary

  • British Columbia has enormous potential to produce geothermal power.  There is a sufficient potential to meet the entire Provinces’ power demand.
  • There is significant room to improve both the Data Coverage and Confidence of the estimates of British Columbia’s geothermal potential.
  • Priority geothermal exploration areas are identified through the confluence of key surface and subsurface data.

So why aren’t geothermal resources a higher priority – here is a Smog Blog listicle

Meanwhile, our provincial government continues with its quixotic search for an export driven economic bonanza from LNG. And refuses to raise its carbon tax. BC and Alberta being the only two provinces that did not attend the recent provincial “climate change summit“.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 20, 2015 at 9:21 am