“Geothermal has the potential to provide firm energy at a lower cost than Site C in a manner that benefits ratepayers, taxpayers, the economy and the environment, not to mention having a carbon footprint that is lower than Site C,” CanGEA Chair, Alison Thompson notes in a distributed press release.
Thompson also points to the findings of the Joint Review Panel, whereas new sources of energy are likely not required until 2028, and therefore ample time is available to “complete proper due diligence, build geothermal plants and catch up to the rest of the world after 30 years of downplaying geothermal.”
“There is a sufficient geothermal potential to meet all of the province’s future power needs, including the 1,100 MW of capacity and 5,100 gigawatt hours per year of energy that would come from Site,” the key report findings read.
Moreover, CanGEA estimates the cost of “favourable projects” is $73/MWh compared to B.C. Hydro’s estimate of $83/MWh for Site C.
The following are 10 key advantages CanGEA points to when compared to Site C:
1. Geothermal power has a lower Unit Energy Cost and capital cost.
2. Geothermal heat is a valuable by-product.
3. More permanent jobs are generated by geothermal operations than other alternatives.
4. Costly B.C. Hydro system transmission upgrades are avoided or minimized.
5. The power grid is strengthened through ancillary services, including geothermal energy’s unique base load and dispatchable capacity.
6. Geothermal fluids create strategically significant mineral and rare earth elements recovery opportunities.
7. Geothermal power plants can be built to meet demand and manage or reduce the risk of project cost overruns associated with large-scale projects.
8. Geothermal offers increased food security and price stability.
9. The physical and environmental footprint of geothermal is small.
10. Geothermal offers a means to “green” oil & gas and mining operations.
CanGEA is also endorsing independent verification of their findings, and are asking government officials to adopt the following five point plan:
1. Implement a one year moratorium on the final investment decision on Site C to allow time for further due diligence on geothermal.
2. Refer geothermal to the B.C. Utilities Commission for review and recommendations by November 2015 in accordance with section 5 of the Utilities Commission Act.
3. Establish a public education program on geothermal energy production in B.C.
4. Form a taskforce to make recommendations on the policy and regulatory changes required to support cost effective and efficient development of a geothermal industry in B.C. by 2020.
5. Hold a government and industry sponsored international symposium on geothermal energy production in Vancouver in 2016.
The provincial Cabinet is expected to make a decision on Site C before Christmas.