Speaking via teleconference, Chair Alison Thompson maintains that B.C. Hydro and the provincial government have decided that geothermal energy is “inconvenient” and dismiss the idea, while several other countries embrace it. She points to the United States and Mexico as being the first and fourth largest producers of geothermal energy, and notes that Canada has similar North American geology.
“The same resource that hosts greater than 4,300 Megawatts of geothermal power in Mexico and the U.S., including Alaska north of us, clearly exists in B.C.,” she explains. “165 projects are being currently developed in similar geology as B.C. has.”
B.C. does not currently have any operational geothermal projects, but Thompson claims Canada and B.C. have the potential to become a “powerhouse” on the world stage. She says the potential exists in three main areas of the province: near the proposed LNG terminals on the north coast, new mines in northeast B.C., and gas projects in the Horn River Basin.
“The northeast area of B.C. has recorded temperatures – by the oil companies themselves who operate there – of greater than 140 degree Celsius,” Thompson maintains. “Certainly, this value is not in agreement with ‘low temperature hydrothermal resources’ that B.C. Hydro has indicated exists in this region.”
Thompson adds that geothermal energy seems to be overlooked and faces near impossible permitting processes, when it could only take five to seven years for a greenfield geothermal project to be built.
The Site C Clean Energy Project public hearing process continues Wednesday at the Pomeroy Hotel with a general session featuring speakers from Treaty 8 Tribal Association, Steve Thorlakson and Senator Richard Neufeld, and Area C Director Arthur Hadland.