Canadian Geothermal Energy Association crying foul on Minister Bill Bennett’s comment

The comment made by Minister Bennett goes to the following:

“In B.C. the market has been really slow to pick [geothermal] up… There have been a few licenses granted over the years and few million dollars invested but nobody has actually found a geothermal resource that you can covert into electricity. So we are a ways away from actually being able to use it… It is a good resource, we do want to use it… it will be important in B.C. in the future. It is not a replacement – it is not a way to get 1,100 megawatts of electricity that we need today.”

Chair and Co-Founder of CanGEA, Alison Thompson notes in her email that “Minister Bennett’s comments are simply not true,” and goes on to say he clearly had not read or been briefed on the report in question, Geothermal Energy: The Renewable and Cost Effective Alternative to Site C.

Here is a breakdown, in which according to Thompson, refutes the aforementioned comments by Minister Bennett.

  • Since the creation of its geothermal favourable maps, tables and datasets, GanGEA has reached out to all relevant government officials and organization. While some have taken the time to become informed, others have allegedly not.
  • The report outlines a portfolio that only uses geothermal power which “matches the Site C project’s output and has a Unit Energy Cost of $73/Mwh compared to the Site C projected $83/Mhw.” Thompson goes on to say, “Clearly, the pursuit of geothermal energy is in the best interests of B.C. ratepayers and taxpayers.”
  • Geothermal power was developed in the 1980’s and is internationally recognized as “a very mature technology… including in the United States.”
  • Conservative estimates released by CanGEA demonstrate the availability of 5,700 MW of potential geothermal power.
  • Citing the findings of the Joint Review Panel’s investigation into Site C, which states ‘available resources could provide adequate energy and capacity until at least 2028,’ CanGEA says they’re confident “that geothermal energy could be in production within the next 2 -4 years.”
  • Minister Bennett’s comments “do not address concerns expressed by the citizens of B.C.” in regard to environmental impact, going on to cite geothermal as being a renewable energy source with a smaller environmental footprint.
  • “The lack of a timely and effective regulatory framework is the main reason geothermal energy has not been expanded in British Columbia.”
  • CanGEA’s report “addresses the economics of geothermal production in B.C., rendering [a Request for Proposal] largely unnecessary in its present form.”

Thompson concludes by requesting an immediate meeting with cabinet.

“Considering the substantial positive implications of our report findings for B.C. taxpayers and ratepayers, we request an immediate opportunity to meet with you and the B.C. Cabinet to brief you on our report,” the email reads.

Thompson adds, “We believe this is a prudent and essential course of action prior to cabinet’s final decision on Site C.”

CanGEA says their mandate is to promote “the industry and the potential of geothermal energy in Canada through outreach events, research, policy work and representation of Canadian interests internationally.”