Why Is Canada Freezing out Geothermal Power?


Canadians are some world’s best at advanced exploration
and drilling technologies. Not surprisingly, members of the Canadian
Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) also produce more than 20 per cent
of the world’s geothermal energy. They just don’t do it here. The
almost complete absence of government support means that all of this
green energy infrastructure in being installed somewhere else. That’s
right — the total geothermal energy capacity in Canada is zero. 

That is a shame, considering that
geothermal energy is a clean, continuous base-load power whose source is
the virtually unlimited heat from our planet’s interior. Unlike other
renewables such as wind or solar, geothermal plants can operate 24 hours
a day, rain or shine. 

While the upfront costs for geothermal can be considerable, it is ultimately very cheap energy. According to CanGEA chair and founder Alison Thompson, “it has the lowest levelized cost of any power source in the world, even coal.”

Canada’s advantage

Thompson points out the ironic reason
Canadians are so good at geothermal is because there has been so much
focus here on fossil fuel extraction. “I come from the oil patch. We
have developed enormous expertise in advanced exploration and drilling
techniques. These are exactly the skills you need to develop geothermal

So if Canadians are among the best
geothermal experts in the world, why aren’t they doing business here?
“Most of our membership are die-hard Canadian entrepreneurs, but they
are forced to operate in other countries because there is so little
support for the industry here. We are just so frustrated that it doesn’t
need to be like this.”

Read full Tyee article here


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.