Map shows areas of geothermal potential

Geothermal pitched as alternative to Site C dam

Energy Minister Bill Bennett says it has promise, but isn't developed enough to replace Peace River dam

Geothermal energy can help power the B.C. electrical grid around the province, and B.C. should assess that option before deciding to proceed with a third dam on the Peace River, an industry association says.

The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) issued a report Tuesday detailing its latest work on geothermal sites. In addition to hot springs and volcanic sites that could be tapped to provide power, the study examines “hot sedimentary aquifers” that have been stumbled upon by oil and gas drilling.

“At the risk of offending my own mother, this ain’t your grandma’s geothermal,” said CanGEA chair Alison Thompson at a Victoria news conference.

Thompson pointed to the recent joint federal-provincial review of BC Hydro’s Site C dam project, which noted that little research into geothermal energy has been conducted in B.C.

The CanGEA report estimates that deep hot water aquifers and other geothermal sources are capable of producing enough electricity to meet BC Hydro’s projected needs, including the 1,100 megawatt capacity offered by Site C. The report calls for a one-year delay on Site C, which has passed federal and provincial environmental reviews and is being considered by the B.C. cabinet.

Energy Minister Bill Bennett said Tuesday he expects cabinet to make a final investment decision on BC Hydro’s $8 billion dam proposal by the end of December. He said geothermal energy has potential in B.C. because unlike wind or solar power it provides a steady source of power, but he doesn’t see it as an alternative to the dam.

“It is a good resource,” Bennett said. “We do want to use it. It will be important to B.C. in the future. It’s not a way to get the 1,100 megawatts of electricity that we need now.”

Bennett noted that the provincially-funded research agency GeoScienceBC issued a request for proposals Tuesday for a study on the economic viability of geothermal resources.

CanGEA is doing its own mapping, not just of promising sources but their proximity to roads, power lines and consumers. Thompson said the industry is also looking at combining solar and biomass with geothermally heated water to produce enough heat to fire boilers for electricity.

Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver said the report shows Site C should not go ahead next year, because CanGEA projects lower cost, with power sources and jobs distributed across the province.

Just Posted

Team BC defeats its hosts at junior curling nationals Sunday

Tyler Tardi and his team have played and won three games in the Canadian championships, so far.

UPDATE: Olympic softball qualifier to be held in Surrey

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

Surrey resident to speak about erasing Alzheimer’s disease stigma

A goal of Dona McMorland is to erase stigma attached to the disease

Vehicle rollover in Surrey

Surrey Fire Service responded to the collision on the 19500-block of 60 Avenue

VIDEO: Three-peat for Semiahmoo at basketball’s Surrey RCMP Classic

South Surrey-based squad tops Lord Tweedsmuir in final at Enver Creek gym

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read